Assessing Sustainability Culture at the University of São Paulo-São Carlos

Universities have the responsibility of promoting an awareness of sustainability among its students, faculty, and staff. They are also responsible for producing groundbreaking scientific knowledge, and sharing relevant experiences with the public. The University of São Paulo's Environmental Policies are in its final steps of development. Accordingly, the release of these Policies is an opportune moment to begin the process of assessing the culture of sustainability on the University's São Carlos Campus (USP-SC). During the spring 2016 academic term, researchers at the University conducted a survey of its students, faculty, and staff to measure sustainability behaviors and levels of engagement and awareness of sustainability on campus. The survey was developed in collaboration with researchers at the University of Michigan (U-M) and was patterned after surveys conducted as part of U-M's Sustainability Cultural Indicators Program. The survey was deployed inside Sustainability Culture Indicators Program (SCIP) been applied at UofM since 2012, and replicated at USP-SC in 2016. USP-SC's Waste Policy is current in its final steps for enactment, therefore, creating a baseline data ex-ante the publication, will allow comparison in future years and how the policy impacted USP's reality. This paper uses data from 2016 application. Survey respondents were asked questions via an online platform about their sustainability-related behaviors and awareness including transportation, sustainable food purchases, conservation behaviors, waste prevention, and environmental management of green (natural) areas on campus. This paper presents and compares descriptive findings for students, faculty, and staff at USP-SC, and presents findings from an examination of the links between sustainability behaviors, awareness, and engagement. The researchers will keep applying the survey in further years, so a comparative study can be deployed with the baseline data acquire ex-ante the USP's Waste Policy enactment. In this context, this work finds that in general that staff presented a more adequate behavior towards waste prevention, followed by faculty and undergraduate students. Further papers will discuss a comparative study between USPSC's and UofM's application results, discussing different university's cultural, financial, and social realities.