This study aims to introduce a new instrument to assess the perception of the university community after the Climate Emergency Declaration (CED) and its application at the Universidad de Salamanca (USAL) in Spain. This CED includes a comprehensive program to reduce the carbon footprint and the introduction of the education for sustainable development in the curriculum. This study aims to understand the gap between perception and reality in the program's implementation and verify whether the student organization's initial push translates into higher approval ratings.
The authors conducted a cross-sectional analytical study. In this research, the authors used a sample of 731 people from the USAL community (67% students, 20% academics and the rest administrative and service staff).
The findings revealed that PhD students are the group with the highest perception of the policies implemented by the university to fight climate change, even higher than academics. In addition, the perception of the food, energy and sustainable mobility aspects of the program are good predictors: of the knowledge of the indicators and of the policy dimensions within the CED.
The university community perception survey for a CED process provides a gateway into the gaps between perception, expectations and reality. Moreover, it is helpful to engage its members in action plans to fight climate change and its impacts.
The authors acknowledge Javier Carbonero Ciria and María del Mar Marcos Martín, the environmental technicians working in the USAL’s Green Office because they helped with the process of the CED, the survey and the possibility that all the community had access to participate in the questionnaire.
Ferrari, E., Reyes-Carrasco, P.M., Barrón Ruíz, A. and Ruíz, C. (2023), "Testing an instrument to assess the perception of climate change policies in universities: the case of Salamanca University", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 160-178. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-09-2021-0379
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