BMCC Conducts Sustainable Living Survey

March 12, 2013

Drs. McNamara, Rennis and Wiseman, Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) faculty and members of BMCC’s Sustainability Committee, recently conducted an exploratory study on campus. This research examined the personal sustainability practices and attitudes of urban community college students as well as their beliefs regarding campus sustainability policies.

The Sustainable Living survey was administered to 200 students and measured 1) the frequency of their sustainable practices, 2) their level of concern for sustainable issues, and 3) their level of satisfaction with the school’s indoor environment and the college’s implementation of sustainability policies. The findings show that the majority of students personally implement energy conservation, waste management, and water conservation measures sometimes; however these same students, in the aggregate, rated sustainability issues as a public concern of great importance. Thus, it appears, as correlation analysis demonstrates, that students do not personally act on their concerns.

Regarding the school’s environment, students were very aware of the campus’ green purchasing procedures and landscaping practices, and this may have contributed, as linear regression analysis suggests, to student satisfaction with the number of sustainability opportunities available to them. The implication of this study is that educational institutions may serve an important role in facilitating the adoption of sustainability behaviors by students through modeling these practices on campus and by providing opportunities for student involvement. Such opportunities should enable practical applications of sustainability, such as how to workshops, so that students can more easily act on their concerns. The findings from this study were presented at the 9th  International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic, and Social Sustainability  conference in Hiroshima, Japan on January 23, 2013.