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Findings from the 2021 Eau Claire Longitudinal Student Survey

by Peter Hart-Brinson and Lexi Mulholland ('22)

The Eau Claire Longitudinal Student Survey (ECLSS) is an annual survey conducted by students in the Sociological Research Methods (SOC 332) course at the UW – Eau Claire. During the Spring 2021 semester, a random sample of 1000 students was invited to complete the survey, which featured modules on eight different topics, such as COVID-19, food insecurity, and various diversity and inclusion initiatives. Below are a few of our favorite findings:


  • Only 26% of students said they felt “very comfortable” on campus in Fall 2020, but 48% said they felt that way in Spring 2021
  • 73% of students disagreed with the university’s decision to cancel Spring Break
  • Three quarters of students said they learn best in in-person classes; fewer than one in ten said they learn best in online classes

The 2020 Election

  • 91% of respondents said they voted in the 2020 Presidential election—an obviously incorrect number that illustrates the well-known problem that more Americans say they voted than actually did!
  • 58% of students said they were very or somewhat satisfied with the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, and liberals were much more likely to feel that way than moderates or conservatives
  • 53% of students feel very or somewhat comfortable engaging in political discussions at UWEC, but moderates and conservatives were much less likely than liberals to feel that way

Student Life:

  • About 30% of students say “all” or “almost all” of their friends are fellow Blugolds
  • 70% of students say they think they drink less alcohol than the typical Blugold
  • The average rating, on a scale of 1-10, of how much students identify as a Blugold, is 6.7

Food Access:

  • Only 15% of students rated their general health as "fair" or "poor"
  • One out of every five students said that they could not afford to eat a balanced meal “often” or “sometimes”
  • Four out of five students said that, during the last 30 days, they ate less than they should because there wasn’t enough food

Academic Life:

  • 65% of students say their peers value their opinions in class
  • 53% of students “strongly agree” that they put a lot of work into their studies, but only 36% strongly agree that their grades reflect their work
  • Two-thirds of students say their mental health has been negatively affected because of their classes, and half say that mental health is a “very big concern” on campus

Diversity and Inclusion:

  • One-third of students say their experiences of diversity and inclusion at UWEC have fallen short of their expectations
  • 63% of students say UWEC promotes itself as racially diverse, and 56% say it would be “false advertising and unfair to students” to over-represent its racial diversity in promotional materials
  • A majority (54%) believe UWEC has problem with racism on campus