By Chad Clady, Program Evaluation Intern
I have been working with the Office of Sustainability as the Program Evaluation intern since this past summer. In addition to my work at the Office, I am currently a graduate student at SPEA studying policy analysis and environmental policy and natural resource management. I began a project during the summer to design a survey to understand the sustainability knowledge and culture of the IUB student body. Through many drafts and conversations with the working groups on campus, I was able to get the final draft of the survey approved this semester.
The survey is split into two parts. One that asks fact-based questions about the student’s knowledge of sustainability issues relating to the environment, the economy, and social sciences. These multiple choice questions only have one correct answer, so we will be able to understand students’ knowledge of the vast range of issues concerning sustainability. The second section of the survey is opinion-based and hopes to understand students’ opinions on campus sustainability issues like public transportation, printing, and energy conservation. This portion of the survey was modeled after the Theory of Planned Behavior. The theory says that to understand one’s behavior on issues like sustainability initiatives, one must consider one’s attitudes, the norms surrounding the behavior, and the perceived control of actually carrying out the behavior. Based on this information, we modeled questions to understand if students thought engaging in a certain sustainable behavior was important, if people important to them also engaged in that behavior, and whether or not they had ample opportunity to engage in that behavior on campus.
The rest of the Office of Sustainability and I are very excited about the results of the first iteration of this survey. We hope to use the survey results to better understand the current state of sustainability on campus. This knowledge has potential to shape the IUOS programs of the future. This project has helped hone my survey writing and project planning skills. I look forward to utilizing my data analytical skills next semester after the completion of our survey. The survey will be sent out to a representative sample from each of the schools on campus in January. Check your IU email next semester to see if you were selected to participate in our survey. We would love to hear your opinions!