Publication Date

Fall 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies


Carolina Prado


Administration, Campus Sustainability, Environmental Education, Environmental Studies, Sustainability, Sustainable University

Subject Areas

Environmental science; Environmental philosophy; Educational administration


The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) is a program that measures university sustainability levels. STARS ranks university campuses based on the number of points received from individual specifications such as green buildings, access to mass transit, number of environmental courses, and more. Therefore, the rank a school receives translates directly to its level of sustainability as an institution. Currently, it is unknown if there is a relationship between a campus’s STARS-rating and individual students’ environmental literacy (EL). The purpose of this project was to analyze the impacts of university’s sustainable features on student EL. Surveys were administered to 1,988 students attending both STARS-ranked universities and non-STARS-ranked universities. The survey measured the three components of student EL: environmental attitude (EA), environmental behavior (EB), and knowledge (EK) about the environment. Results indicated that students shared similar EL scores regardless of their campus STARS rank or lack of STARS participation. Some differences between EL levels were found among certain demographics. Gender significantly influenced EB, while class standing significantly influenced EK. Those who preferred not to choose a gender (PNA) scored significantly higher than males and females in EB. EK scores between grade levels showed a significant difference between grade levels and increased as grade level increased. To ensure an environmental literate student population, universities should incorporate environmental concepts into more courses within all majors/departments.