October 20, 2022

Take the Sustainability Census!

sustainability census flyerHave you taken the Sustainability Census yet? Why should you? For one reason, there are giveaways you could win.

Most importantly, you’ll be contributing to creating positive change surrounding sustainability issues and actions at the University and ensuring that our diverse community is well represented.

“The Sustainability Census is an important tool for the University to help move sustainability forward,” says Aliza Richman, principal investigator, associate professor of sociology, and chair of the Sustainability Council. This is WCU’s first survey to focus on sustainability. It is aligned with WCU’s strategic plan, Pathways to Student Success and Climate and Sustainability Action Plan

“We need to know where our community stands, what they understand about sustainability, what gaps in sustainability knowledge exist within our campus community,” Richman says. It’s especially important to capture student voices because “our younger generations are driving the sustainability discussion.”

Richman sees the census as both an outreach tool and an education tool. For example, a newer member of the WCU community might not know about the campus gardens until they see them mentioned in the census. Other participants might visit the webpage for the Office of Sustainability (OoS) or get involved with the Sustainability Council or another campus group.

Data from the census, which concludes at the end of this month, will help the OoS and the Sustainability Council gauge our community’s awareness and knowledge of the University’s current sustainability practices. Results will guide them in evaluating, prioritizing, and establishing data-driven interventions, projects, and campaigns to advance sustainability across campus.

The survey is available online and via mobile (click here for the flyer with the QR code ) and takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. It spans four categories: sustainable actions; beliefs and risk perception; knowledge and literacy; and background and demographics.

Those giveaways? Anyone who completes the full survey will be entered into a lottery with the chance to win one of more than 150 sustainability-minded gifts including totes made from 99% recycled plastic and gift cards that prioritize local companies and organic food.

The Sustainability Census is planned to be a longitudinal study that may be repeated every four years, tracking progress in sustainable knowledge, behaviors, and sociodemographic variation over time. Richman says, “It’s the beginning of a longer project.

“As a quantitatively trained sociologist and demographer, I hold the expertise to identify patterns of sociodemographic heterogeneity among the focal factors, capturing the interest of the broader scholarly community.”

sustainability census poster

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