<<Back to Resilience Home

What is the Campus-Community Resilience Assessment?

The resilience assessment is meant to provide a baseline of current resilience activities on campus and in the community, develop initial indicators of resilience through a multi-stakeholder process, and identify current vulnerabilities related to climate change. Schools should keep a particular eye on overlaps and gaps in assets and vulnerabilities between the campus and community.

Key steps in a resilience assessment include:

  • Understand strengths and assets on campus, in the community, and across both.
  • Understand weaknesses and vulnerabilities on campus, in the community, and across both. This includes climate change hazards, impacts, and existing conditions that may be exacerbated by climate change or affect a school and community’s capacity to cope and adapt.
  • Develop initial indicators of resilience that help benchmark current status as well as identify where a campus and/or community hopes to improve capacity in the future.
  • Identify key overlaps and gaps between the campus and community assets and vulnerabilities.

There are many approaches to completing an initial campus-community resilience assessment. Schools should tailor the comprehensiveness of their assessment to the capacity of the staff or committees doing the work. The assessment could be part of a short workshop, a series of longer workshops, interviews and surveys across the campus and community, or part of a different process the campus develops.

Whether campuses are organizing a workshop, conducting surveys, or developing a different process to complete the Resilience Assessment, it is important to incorporate the views of a wide range of stakeholders. Capturing input from many stakeholders will help campuses understand all the dimensions of resilience, ensure no major vulnerabilities are left out of the assessment, ensure voices from populations most impacted by climate change are heard, and identify a broader range of opportunities.

The Five Dimensions of Resilience

While completing the assessment, campuses should consider each of the five dimensions of resilience: 

Social Equity & Governance

Social Equity and Governance refers to the systems of governance on campus and in the community, levels of engagement among campus and community members, and the capacity of different groups to adapt and respond to climate change. This includes leadership, transparency and accountability, and communication across stakeholders both on campus and in the community. Campuses should consider the social fabric of the campus-community, education levels and opportunities, active networks among different groups in the campus-community, and social justice dynamics.

Health & Wellness

Health and Wellness refers to the ability of different groups on campus and in the community to fulfill their basic needs. This includes access to healthcare, food, water, housing, and sanitation. Campuses should consider the availability and affordability of healthcare, including emergency medical care capacity, food and potable water, and secure housing. Campuses should assess indicators for health & wellness both on an ongoing basis and in the case of emergencies or severe climate-related impacts.

Ecosystem Services

Ecosystem Services refers to the environmental systems and services present in the campus-community. This may include the natural and geographic features of the region, city or town, and neighborhood. Campuses should consider natural assets such as tree canopy, undeveloped floodplains, air quality, and biodiversity. Campuses should also assess systems in place to govern or protect these assets, such as conservation easements, recreation parks, and rainwater management systems.


Infrastructure refers to the physical structures built, owned, managed, and/or used by the campus-community. It also includes systems such as communication and public transportation. Infrastructure is often the most intuitive dimension of resilience, and many resilience assessments and plans tend to focus on physical infrastructure. Campuses should consider transportation systems, buildings, communication technology, and key features in the area such as bridges and dams.


Economic refers to the financial ability of the campus and community to proactively adapt to changing climate conditions and to respond positively to climate change events. This may include high-level trends such as GDP and unemployment rates, and more campus-specific indicators such as the existence of a climate adaptation fund. Campuses should consider the diversity of the campus-community’s local economy, the availability of tax or other financial incentives to increase resilience, and levels of financial planning for emergencies.


  • Future Scenarios (PDF)
    • Envisioning future scenarios can aid campuses in identifying common ground between various stakeholders and creating a positive vision of the future. This resource provides guidance on facilitating a resilience visualization.
  • Strengths/Assets & Vulnerabilities (PDF)
    • Strengths and assets are existing features, capacities, characteristics, and resources that will help a campus and its community cope with climate change. Vulnerabilities are hazards or existing conditions that may be exacerbated by climate change and interfere with a campus’s ability to thrive. This resource provides guidance on identifying strengths, assets, and vulnerabilities.
  • Indicators of Resilience (PDF)
    • A core component of completing a Resilience Assessment is identifying initial indicators to assess resilience. This resource provides guidance on developing quantitative and qualitative indicators of resilience.


Thank You to Climate Programs Intern Cass Michaud for helping to compile these resources.