Staff and Student Sustainability Survey

The Staff and student sustainability survey is part of a study that analyses how to best improve the environmental performance of the University of Surrey and at HEIs in general.

Staff and Student Sustainability Survey summary report

(9.7 MB .PDF)


The main objectives are to obtain information about staff and students’ attitudes, social norms and behaviours related to energy consumption and waste production as well as perceptions of sustainability in the UK’s higher education sector, and more specifically, sustainability performance at the University of Surrey.

Furthermore, the data helps the Sustainability and Energy Team to create a baseline and measure impact of communications and engagement campaigns.

Survey team

The study is led by Practitioner Doctorate in Sustainability PhD/EngD student Nicola Andreij Rieg who works with the Sustainability and Energy Team.

Key findings from the 2019 Sustainability Survey

  • Over 1,400 staff and students took the survey
  • Climate change was considered the most serious problem out of a range of local and global issues
  • 95 per cent of respondents agreed that sustainability should be one of the key considerations for universities in the UK
  • 80 per cent said that good sustainability credentials would make a university a more attractive place to work and study
  • Over 80 per cent of staff and students found it important to behave in an environmentally friendly way.

The survey data show that a large proportion of staff and students have strong environmental attitudes and want to behave in a more environmentally friendly way on campus. However, due to the lack of clear established social and discursive norms and inconsistencies in supporting infrastructure, attitudes often do not translate into pro-environmental behaviour.

Therefore, one of the major goals for the upcoming years is to embed sustainability into organisational culture and create a supporting infrastructure that makes sustainable behaviour easier and normative.

We’re looking to run the Survey again in May 2020 to measure how staff and student attitudes, perspectives, and behaviours have changed over the academic year.

For any questions regarding the survey, please contact