The enhancement project was an amazing experience for me and allowed me to do a lot of research into a topic that I am interested in. This was for Education 376-50: Introduction to Residential Learning, which is a class that all new Resident Assistants have to take in order to learn more about the job and how to deal with certain situations. For the enhancement project all of the honors students were required to pick a topic that would effect our residents and had not been covered in class. I chose the effects of outdoor recreation on College Students.
Outdoor Recreation is defined as an activity taking place in nature. A few of these activities include walking, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and camping. These activities have many health benefits on people, including college students based on different studies (Outdoor Recreation FAQs). Often colleges offer an outdoor club where students can go on such trips. Colleges often cut funding in the recreational area. According to Flourishing through Resilience: The Impact of a College Outdoor Education Program, this can be detrimental to college students because outdoor recreation can play a big role in the student’s stress and anxiety levels, academic success, mental and physical health, better/more social connections, and more (Shellman and Hill 10). With the other’s research in mind a survey was created to test if the population at Longwood University follows the trend that Outdoor Recreation can reduce stress.
I found that the correlation between outdoor recreation participation and stress levels is -0.1774. This means that hours of recreation is weakly correlated with stress levels, so as hourly recreation goes up stress levels go down. When a Mann-Whitney Test was preformed between each hourly group and the control group of no recreation participation it rejected the null hypothesis that they have same stress levels. This means that those who participate in recreation less tend to have a higher stress level.
When presenting this project I met a lot of people who were interested in the therapeutic value of the outdoors. I also met my soon to be outdoor education professor, Professor Dolence, which was interesting because he suggested that I take one of his classes, which is how I got into the minor.