The 2020 Campus Sustainability Survey report is now available. Overall, we find that student knowledge of sustainability remained steady, though poor performance on a few key items suggest important areas for improvement in the coming years.
Given the findings of our report, we make 3 key suggestions:
1. Emphasize refuse, reduce, reuse, and recycle. Students remain very supportive of recycling, which is an important part of sustainability on campus. However, the reduction of consumption along with reusing items or purchasing used instead of new goods can make an even larger impact on the overall waste produced at Ohio State. It takes all four!
2. Recycling Barriers: While students prioritize recycling on campus, they did identify some barriers as more important than others. About half agreed that there were not enough recycling bins on campus and that they were unsure of which items could be recycled on campus. Opportunities to improve recycling on campus may include increasing bins and improving communication around how to recycle.
3. Sustainability across the curriculum. On average, students agreed that employers are interested in students with sustainability-related knowledge and skills, and that they were aware and informed of opportunities to acquire such knowledge and skills. One approach to increasing interest and enrollment in sustainability-related courses might be to provide simple notations for courses that have officially integrated sustainability into their syllabi. This compilation of sustainability courses at OSU may likewise be a critical first step!
The ESS Lab continues to work with OSU campus partners to answer critical sustainability questions, provide insights to some of our challenges, and mark our progress toward a more sustainable campus.