Sustainable Living and Learning Community (SLLC) Program: Assessing an Innovative Approach to Sustainability Education

Authors: Robin Lewis*, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Noelle Nichols, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Alyssa Kelly, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Sandro Carboni, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Topics: Geography Education
Keywords: sustainability education, sustainable consumption, higher education, liberal arts
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

As sustainability programs continue to emerge at colleges and universities across the world, there is an increased need to assess how well these programs are achieving their learning objectives in order to understand the trajectory of sustainability in higher education more broadly. This poster reports findings from an assessment of the Sustainable Living and Learning Community (SLLC) Program, a yearlong and sustainability-focused living and learning program at a small liberal arts college in Upstate New York. Using a multi-method approach that triangulates its findings based on quantitative and qualitative analysis of surveys, pre- and post-program surveys, and reflective journals, we found that a majority of students in the SLLC program not only developed more nuanced understandings of the terms sustainability and consumption but they also acknowledged their own roles in perpetuating unsustainable forms of consumption. Moreover, while SLLC students did report higher average levels of concern with sustainability issues and attain higher average levels of sustainability literacy than their non-SLLC peers did, program participants did not report a higher average number of sustainability behaviors than their peers. These findings suggest that while the SLLC Program may an effective way to inform students about sustainability issues, participating in this living/learning community does not necessarily result in students adopting a more sustainable lifestyle.

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