Towards a campus culture of environmental sustainability

Brett L.M. Levy (School of Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA and School of Education, University of Wisconsin‐Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA)
Robert W. Marans (Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Publication date: 14 September 2012



The authors led an interdisciplinary team that developed recommendations for building a “culture of environmental sustainability” at the University of Michigan (UM), and the purpose of this paper is to provide guidance on how other institutions might promote pro‐environmental behaviors on their campuses.


The authors synthesize research on fostering environmental behavior, analyze how current campus sustainability efforts align with that research, and describe how they developed research‐based recommendations to increase environmental sustainability on the UM campus.


Analyses of prior research suggest that there are five factors that influence individuals' pro‐environment behaviors: knowledge of issues; knowledge of procedures; social incentives; material incentives; and prompts/reminders. Given these factors, UM should pursue three types of activities to support the development of pro‐environment behaviors: education, engagement, and assessment.

Practical implications

The specific recommendations in this report are for the University of Michigan. However, other institutions interested in fostering a culture of environmental sustainability might benefit from undertaking similar comprehensive assessments of how they could support community members' development of pro‐environment behavior and knowledge.


The paper builds on prior research to offer a new vision for how to develop a culture of environmental sustainability on a large university campus.



Levy, B. and Marans, R. (2012), "Towards a campus culture of environmental sustainability", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 13 No. 4, pp. 365-377.

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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