Evaluating Changes in Sustainability Culture: A Model for Universities and Other Organizations

Approaches to evaluating built environments are adaptable to environmentally-related programs. This chapter presents an overview of a multi-year project designed to monitor programs aimed at moving toward a culture of sustainability on the University of Michigan (U-M) campus. Culture of sustainability is meant to reflect a set of attitudes, behaviors, levels of understanding and commitment, degrees of engagement, and dispositions among a population within a single entity- a university, a corporation, a city, or a building. The evaluation is intended to inform and provide feedback to U-M administrators, faculty, and others responsible for day-to-day operations of the University including its academic programs. It also is used to assess experiments/trials of new sustainability initiatives. Finally, the evaluation program serves as a model demonstrating how behavioral research can be used to address critical environmental issues within universities generally, and in other settings.