A Nature Walk a Day, Keeps Unhappiness Away: Restorative Campus Environments and Student Well-Being
Undergraduate Honours Theses
The increasing world population is leading to rapid and extensive urbanization. This over-stimulating built environment may be causing an increased rate of stress-related illnesses amongst urban populations. Similarly, to large cities, university campuses are also often centralized built environments brimming with activity and distraction, centered around student life, academic pursuits and communal events, resulting in a barrage of stimulation and distraction Generally, university students spend the majority of their time immersed in these overstimulating campuses, engaging in activities that require sustained attention, which, similar to urban spaces, may cause mental and attentional fatigue leading to reduced well-being. Green spaces are restorative environments that may be effective in improving mental and emotional well-being, as past research suggests a positive association between green-spaces and increased well-being in urban populations. Despite the promising results, there has been a lack of research looking specifically at university campuses and whether campus green spaces are able to improve student psychological health, particularly during the winter season. The present study, therefore, examines the association between campus green spaces and student well-being by having participants answer questions regarding mental health after either walking through a busy part of campus or a natural, forested space. The results of the study were not significant; however, future researchers should continue to explore the effect of green spaces during the winter on student well-being.
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Thesis Advisor: Dr. Mark Cole
Reader: Dr. Christine Tsang