Since 2001 there have been periodic surveys of the UVM community's beliefs, awareness and behaviors around sustainability. While each assessment has a different focus based on the needs and interests of the time they were conducted, they all help build our understanding of what the campus community thinks and supports around the topic of sustainability and how that has evolved over the years. In addition to earning us points in STARS these assessments help us identify trends, gaps and areas for improvement or celebration.

Here is a brief timeline. We hope that these findings can be helpful beyond the scope of our office. Please reach out if you'd like to use these results or learn more.


Environmental Council surveys student perceptions of UVM’s environmental performance in academics and campus operations to gain information of potential relevance for marketing UVM as a “green” university.


Gund researchers publish case study at UVM that involved 1,500 participants from the UVM campus and Burlington community in a long‐term visioning process. They find that "by focusing on shared values and long-term goals, envisioning exercises can achieve a surprising amount of consensus while avoiding the divisiveness and polarization that often plague open-ended discussions and university governance." Their visions of a sustainable and desirable UVM were used in the 2018 survey.


Office of Sustainability partners with an undergraduate service learning course (CDAE 250 Research Methods with instructor David Conner). Students conducted direct observations, interviews and a survey to pilot a sustainability cultural assessment on campus. Results were published in the journal Sustainability.


Office of Sustainability hires two students to review pilot findings to create and implement a sustainability cultural assessment that will meet STARS criteria. Findings include that sustainability is valued among students, staff and faculty, that there are gaps in communication about campus sustainability (especially with employees) and this can manifest in a sense of greenwashing among students, social justice is not widely understood as a component of sustainability, and UVM's sustainability reputation influences student's decisions to attend UVM.


Office of Sustainability partnered with CDAE course again to issue similar survey that focuses more on climate change. Our staffer, Caylin McCamp, did a deep dive into this data for her master's capstone project in RSENR where she focused on the impact of climate change on student's mental health. She also presented this research at AASHE's Global Conference on Sustainability in Higher Education in 2020 and you can watch the recording here.


Office of Sustainability reissued a set of questions from the 2019 survey to get feedback from the campus community that would inform their development of a Comprehensive Sustainability Plan. This survey focused on understanding the sustainability priorities of students, faculty and staff as well as their impressions of the University's existing sustainability efforts. Most respondents believed both that UVM is a sustainability leader and needs to do more​. Many comments expressed interest in more use of campus as a living laboratory for sustainability.