5 ways you create change with student data

SOS International conducts research into students’ attitudes and opinions towards sustainability and climate change, in relation to their education and their jobs. Here are five suggestions on how you can take local or global action and create change using the data we collect.

We launched our first global survey in 2020.

More informations and results on this page


1. Read students’ mind

OK so the survey won’t give you superpowers, but it gives you insights into student opinions and attitudes. You better understand the things they’re concerned about and their expectations. This helps you discover information that you can use to build common ground between you and students, so that you can develop communications, campaigns and projects that help meet their vision of what a sustainable and just future looks like.

Student survey SOS International 2020


2. Win your business case

Building a case for action on sustainability often means proving a need for that action – why is it necessary? The data can be used to strengthen your argument by drawing on valid and vast data from students around the world. For those working in education who want to transform the curriculum, or those wanting to inspire and empower young people and students to take actions, you’re going to need a strong rationale as to why this is worth the effort. This data strengthens your argument.

create change student sustainability SOS International survey 2020


3. Get cash and resources

If you’re asking for money or resources to support your sustainability work, you need a strong purpose and argument for why you need this money. Whether you’re a sustainability manager at a university, or a student wanting to set up a new sustainability group, or a charity applying for grant funding to engage more youth in environmental issues, the person with the money is more likely to say yes if you have robust data that shows there’s a need for action. NUS-UK recieved £5m (!) of funding to initiate 25 transformational sustainability programs & campaigns across England, using data about student opinions and attitudes as the basis of their request for funding.

create change - get cash and resources SOS International survey 2020


4. Know your impact

If you can’t measure it, you can’t monitor it. Use the data for your students to baseline student attitudes so you can monitor changes (by repeating the survey or waiting for the next iteration in 2022) as you deliver campaigns and projects. Similarly you can use it to benchmark your progress against others in your country or internationally.

create change - know impact  SOS International survey 2020


5. Learn more

Thousands of academics and student researchers have used similar data, at a smaller scale than the research we’re undertaking now, to strengthen knowledge, understanding and thinking about sustainability and education. Check out Google Scholar to see the different disciplines citing research into student attitudes and opinions to sustainability to date.

students smiling SOS International

So, how are you using the data to create change?

Let us know on Twitter using @sos_dot_earth or via mail at contact@sos.earth. More information and all results of the 2020 survey can be found here.