||All college students should experience and understand sustainability, but few universities
have been able to perform an assessment of their students’ sustainability literacy.
This comparative case study at ten of the largest U.S. universities relies on data
from AASHE STARS reports, campus sustainability websites, and interviews with sustainability
staff to determine what the Universities are (not) doing to promote sustainability
literacy among their students. Generally, the Universities lack sustainability learning
outcomes, lack incentives for faculty to develop sustainability curricula, and have
few sustainability courses. Some sustainability outreach programs are common (those
related to general/integrated sustainability issues, recycling, and residence hall
competitions that promote energy conservation and/or recycling) while others are uncommon
(those related to water conservation, alternative transportation, and nature/wildlife).
Based on these findings, I propose recommendations aimed at developing sustainability
courses, creating sustainability outreach programming that incorporates uncommon themes,
improving sustainability communication/marketing, and evaluating students’ conceptions
and attitudes using a sustainability literacy assessment.