Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

New students surveyed on sustainability awareness, interest

This fall, Suffolk Sustainability conducted its second annual survey of new students in order to find out about their level of awareness, interest and feedback regarding the campus’ environmental initiatives.


The Suffolk University Sustainability Committee paired with the Enrollment Research Office, who were noted to be the “campus experts of conducting surveys,” to generate a survey to administer to Suffolk freshman, transfer students and first year graduate students.


With the intention of drawing student awareness and interest to living a sustainable lifestyle, students were asked a series of multiple choice questions along with a set of open ended questions which allowed for feedback and opinions. The students who participated were entered to win prizes.


According to Campus Sustainability Coordinator Erica Mattison, this year’s survey participation increased, with a 22 percent response rate from new undergraduates, and a 32 percent response rate from new graduate students, totaling an overall number of close to 600 students who participated in this year’s sustainability survey.


The committee uses the survey responses to gain insight into what students know about being environmentally friendly around campus. By sorting through feedback to focus on common themes, opportunities are identified for taking sustainability at Suffolk to the next level.


“While we collect monthly data on consumption and spending for electricity, water and other utilities, it is also important to make sure we collect qualitative information from members of the Suffolk community,” said Mattison.
The research conducted in this year’s survey has shown that students have a positive response to the new receptacles in the Donahue Cafe, which allow for the disposal of compost, trash and mixed recycling in one convenient location. The new addition to the Donahue Building provides students with the option to recycle and compost every time they dispose of items. Survey responses also showed support for less bottled water on campus, and more water bottle filling stations.


The committee aims to find out how to make it easier for students to conserve and engage in environmentally aware actions. Suffolk Sustainability wants to find out how we can do better as a community.


“In reading the survey responses we learned that several new students appreciate Suffolk’s dedication to sustainability, particularly as a school in an urban environment.  At the same time, we are seeking that, just as last year, there is interest in seeing the cafes and bookstores provide more environmentally preferred products; in the case of the cafes, more organic and local foods and in the case of the bookstore, more products with recycled content, for instance.  We’ve made a considerable amount of progress in the past few years, but we are continually striving to improve our environmental performance,” explained Mattison.


Suffolk’s 10 West and Modern Theatre buildings are both noted green buildings, certified as Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) projects.  Throughout the design, construction, and operation, Suffolk focuses on ways to incorporate conservation.


The buildings feature energy efficient heating, cooling, lighting, and appliances, thereby consuming less energy per square foot than Suffolk’s other residence halls.


They provide for bike storage, easy recycling on each floor, and water conserving fixtures to reduce water consumption.  Suffolk has a commitment to achieve Silver LEED certification for new building projects. While 10 West surpassed the goal to achieve Gold, the Modern Theatre has recently been awarded with a Silver plaque that will soon be displayed in the theatre to promote the designation.


In terms of upcoming events, the Sustainability Committee will be hosting Suffolk’s second annual Real Food Dinner on Friday October 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Donahue Cafe.


“This is a special event that brings together facility, staff, students, and friends to celebrate locally grown foods, and allows the Suffolk community to explore the connection between healthy foods and sustainability,” said Mattison.
She also said Suffolk Sustainability finds it important that students eat foods close to the time that they are grown, especially in the fall season due to the easy access of freshly grown foods.


“I hope that attendees will come away with a deeper understanding of the connections that exist between health, food, and sustainability,” said Mattison. “We have heard from employees and students that eating local is something they are very interested in learning more about, and this event helps familiarize people with the value of eating local, while getting to taste some delicious dishes prepared by Sodexo.  We will also hear from Dr. Lewis on the connection between food and sustainability.”


Friday October 21 is the last opportunity to get the reduced ticket price of $5. If spaces are still available, tickets will be sold for $10 at the door.  Suffolk Sustainability, along with other departments are sponsoring the event and offsetting the cost so that students and employees can attend for a reduced price. Event details are available at www.suffolk/sustainability.

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New students surveyed on sustainability awareness, interest