Measuring Progress Over Time: The Sustainability Cultural Indicators Program at the University of Michigan

November 2016

This paper presents findings from three years of data collection through the Sustainability Cultural Indicators Program (SCIP) at the University of Michigan (U-M). Authors highlight how behavioral research is used to address environmental issues at U-M and other organizations. The culture of sustainability reflects a set of attitudes, behaviors, and other factors among members of a community.

This paper presents findings from three years of data collection (2012–2014)—focusing on trends in responses from over 17,000 students, faculty, and staff. One of the most positive findings is that respondents report increasing levels of sustainability knowledge over time. However, SCIP results also indicate that there is considerable room for improvement with regard to pro-environment behavior, engagement, and expressed commitment to sustainability. A brief overview is provided of how SCIP results are being used by multiple units on campus to guide programming and how SCIP is informing efforts at other institutions. 

SCIP is a multi-year project designed to measure and track the culture of sustainability at the University of Michigan (U-M). It is intended to inform U-M administrators and others responsible for day-to-day operations of the University including its academic programs.

 

Keywords: Campus sustainability, SCIP, Survey research, Sustainability cultural indicators, behavior, students, faculty and staff