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Campus green space more important for undergrads
Date:4/19/2010

SAN MARCOS, TXStudents' perceptions of their overall experience on campus may be most strongly associated with their academic accomplishments, but research has also found a solid relationship between undergraduates' use of campus green spaces and their perceptions of quality of life. Are campus green spaces as important to graduate students as they are to undergrads? A new study investigating this question revealed some interesting insights.

The incidence of attrition among doctoral students has been estimated to be as high as 40% to 50%; one Canadian study found that graduate students had significantly higher stress levels, more thoughts of quitting school, and more mental health problems than did medical students. University administrators looking for innovative approaches to retaining students and increasing student satisfaction are now looking to research that suggests that interactions with nature result in increased self-esteem and reduced stress levels on campus.

A team of researchers from Texas A&M and Texas State University used an online survey containing questions related to student use of campus green spaces, overall quality of life, and demographic data. The research indicated that, unlike undergrads, graduate students did not have a statistically significant relationship between "green user" scores and perception of quality of life scores. Undergraduates said they were primarily ''high users'' of campus green spaces, but graduate students were almost equally split between being ''low'', ''medium'', and ''high users'' of campus green spaces.

While researchers found no relationship between graduate student use of campus green spaces and perception of quality of life, graduate students still reported overall positive feelings about their university experiences and their personal lives. According to lead author A.L. McFarland; "It is interesting that the quality of life findings in this study do not support previous studies
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Contact: Michael W. Neff
mwneff@ashs.org
703-836-4606
American Society for Horticultural Science
Source:Eurekalert

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