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Findings from the 2023 Eau Claire Longitudinal Student Survey

| Jenny Marzillo and Peter Hart-Brinson

The Eau Claire Longitudinal Student Survey (ECLSS) is an annual survey conducted by students in the Sociological Research Methods course (SOC 332) at UW-Eau Claire. During the Spring 2023 semester, a random sample of 1000 students was invited to complete the survey, which featured modules on five different topics created by both student and faculty researchers. Below are some notable findings from that year’s survey:

On technology
  • 29% of students said they have used generative artificial intelligence (AI) technologies like Chat GPT, but more students have used it for entertainment and curiosity than for work or school
  • Of those who have used AI, about half (52%) believe that AI is a threat to humanity and society Of those who haven’t used AI, 38% believe it is a threat to humanity and society.
  • 46% of students believe that their generation will be worse off compared to their parents’ generation, 27% believe that they will be better off compared to their parents’ generation
  • 77% of students said they were dissatisfied with the way things were going in the United States at the time of the survey, while 83% of American adults gave that answer to an identical Gallup poll question at the same time.  
On religion and social media
  • Even though 52% of students identified with a religion, only 1/4 of students agreed with the statement, “I consider myself religious”
  • 44% of students do not align with their parents’ or guardians’ religious beliefs, and non-religious students are more likely than religious students to feel differently than their parents about religion
  • 72% of students agree that their social media feed reflects their personal values; only 6% disagree
  • 74% of students feel comfortable talking about current events with their peers, while only 41% feel comfortable posting their opinions about current events on social media
On socioeconomic class
  • Although only 12% of students say their family is working class, 34% of students say they personally identify as working class. Conversely, 27% of students say their family is upper or upper-middle class, but only 13% of students say they personally identify as upper or upper-middle class.
  • 93% of students say they have to worry about money during the semester at least a little bit, and 67% of students feel like they have to prioritize work over study at least a little bit.
  • 82% of students have never used the University’s food pantry, Campus Harvest, and half of those students were unaware that it even exists
On transgender issues
  • 84% of students say their classes are “very” or “somewhat inclusive” of transgender students.
  • Social sciences had the most students who felt their major was inclusive of transgender seconds; in second place were the education majors
  • 87% of students feel they have gained knowledge about transgender issues during their time at UWEC
  • LGBTQ students are more likely to say there aren’t enough resources for transgender students, whereas non-LGBTQ students are more likely to say there’s just the right amount or too many resources