Sunday, August 23, 2009

Is Sustainability Increasingly on the Minds of the Freshman Class?

According to a study done by the Princeton Review, almost 7 out of 10 incoming college students said that the green practices of universities would have at least somewhat of an impact on their selection.

The survey question read as follows

If you (your child) had a way to compare colleges based on their commitment to environmental issues (from academic offerings to practices concerning energy use, recycling, etc.), how much would this contribute to your (your child's) decision to apply to or attend a school?

The results were the following:

Strongly (07% Students, 05% Parents, 06% Respondents Overall)
Very Much (19% Students, 14% Parents, 18% Respondents Overall)
Somewhat (42% Students, 40 % Parents, 42% Respondents Overall)
Not Much (24 % Students, 30% Parents, 26% Respondents Overall)
Not at All (08% Students, 11% Parents, 08% Respondents Overall)

The overall percentage ("somewhat" to "strongly") is 66% (68% for students, 59% for parents). However, the one question that must be considered in such an analysis is how much value the answer "somewhat" really has. The middle response (the 3 on the 1 to 5 scale) tends to be a default answer. However, the fact that 1/4 of students said that sustainability issues were mattered "very much" or "strongly" has more weight, in my opinion.

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