Denison University senior Molly Fritz, an environmental studies and economics major, decided to explore campus sustainability beyond the boundaries of her own school. For her senior project, she is creating a comparative analysis of the Ohio Five institutions: Denison, Kenyon College, Oberlin College, Ohio Wesleyan and the College of Wooster.
“I was always interested in how other schools ran their sustainability programs,” she said. “Some are very far along in the sustainability realm, others are not so I was just interested in comparing them across the board, specifically the Ohio Five.”
Fritz said that OWU’s task force committee is similar to Wooster’s and Denison’s; currently only Oberlin and Denison have a full-time sustainability coordinator, according to her. Kenyon had one until they left recently and is now filling the gap with a sustainability counselor.
A key part of her project were direct student surveys, which she distributed and then collected in person at each of the five colleges. She explains the survey here.
Fritz found comparable levels of support – around 12 percent – for adding a sustainability coordinator at Ohio Wesleyan, Kenyon College and the College of Wooster, which do not have someone in that role currently.
Student respondents at all the Ohio Five schools said they saw a need for more marketing and communication regarding sustainability, and most said they were more involved in personal actions – like turning off lights – rather than group participation. In some cases, respondents said they thought environmental groups went too far with some initiatives.
Students were asked to rank their personal awareness of general sustainability and energy initiatives on a scale from 1 to 5.
Fritz also met with administrators to chart leading sustainability behaviors at each school.