Word Cloud of Environmental Sruvey answers


Campus Sustainability Survey results


Hello, everyone, 
It's me again, Esther from Daw-hen-ya at Bellarmine’s Sustainability Desk. Do you remember our first blog post, where I showed you the location of Dawhenya? Since then, we've celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year, and we are back for the Spring semester. I hope you had great celebrations with your loved ones and are enjoying the warmer days of the waning cold season. As an African from a location on the equator where “cold” is 75 degrees Fahrenheit, this season is definitely my least favorite. 
Today, I want to share the findings from our first-ever Sustainability Survey, which we conducted at the beginning of the Fall 2023 Semester to understand the overall awareness of sustainability initiatives at Bellarmine and elicit suggestions on what we can do to improve this. 
A total of 216 faculty and staff members and 916 students responded to the survey. Several questions focused on campus awareness of some of our initiatives, including the Sustainability Committee and curriculum development in environmental responsibility. I was excited to see that 90 percent of the faculty and 80 percent of students were aware of our Bellarmine Farm community garden space and honeybee hives behind Allen Hall. Seventy percent of faculty and 66 percent of students were aware of the Sustainability Committee. Sadly, less than 50 percent of us were aware of our sustainability reporting through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education; rainwater reclamation; and low-mow protocols. I have my work to get us up to speed on Bellarmine’s sustainability initiatives cut out for me! 
The survey also solicited your feedback on initiatives we should focus on, and we had many brilliant responses. Here, the entire university community was aligned on what was needed: improvement in recycling and waste management, campus greening initiatives, awareness and education, student-led initiatives, reduction of single-used plastics, and energy efficiency. 
The good news is some of these things are already in place, but some need additional attention. We have since shared the findings with the Sustainability Committee, Student Government Association, Faculty Council and Staff Council and conducted a Town Hall meeting to engage with students on this as well. I hope you can make some time to check out our outward-facing website and our new internal SharePoint site and see some cool things related to sustainability at Bellarmine. 
Today, let’s learn a bit about the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). This is a professional organization with membership comprising colleges and universities that have voluntarily come together to share their sustainability initiatives and goals. The Sustainability Tracking and Reporting System (STARS) programis a transparent, self-reporting system designed for colleges and universities to assess their sustainability performance, rigorously verified by AASHE. The framework addresses both long-term sustainability goals for high-achieving institutions and recognizes early sustainability efforts by others. 
Bellarmine has started compiling its initiatives so that we can participate in the STARS program. You can learn more about the STARS program here. My hope is that, just as Bellarmine was recently recognized as a 2024 Carnegie Classification for our Community Engagement initiatives, we will also eventually be recognized by the STARS program for our sustainability initiatives. 
As always, I will keep you posted on our efforts, and if you want to know more, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at eakafia@bellarmine.edu. Be sure to share this with your network. Remember, this is Esther Awovi Akafia from Daw-hen-ya, your Bellarmine Sustainability Officer. 

Tags: Sustainability



Located in the historic Highlands neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky, Bellarmine University is a vibrant community of educational excellence and ethical awareness that consistently ranks among the nation’s best colleges and universities. Our students pursue an education based in the liberal arts – and in the distinguished, inclusive Catholic tradition of educational excellence, the oldest and most rewarding in the western world. It is a lifelong education, worthy of the university’s namesake, Saint Robert Bellarmine, and of his invitation to each of us to learn and live In Veritatis Amore – in the love of all that is beautiful, true and good in life.