Alternative Title





University landscape managers often ask themselves, are they making a difference? Since what they do is not a revenue-generating department, how can they validate their true worth beyond making the campus beautiful, which is excellent, but what added value do they bring? As is common practice, when economic times get tough, the landscape department budget is one of the first to be cut, but is that the wisest thing to do? This research was intended to explore the concept that the services landscape managers provide have a return on investment by providing an environment in which students can thrive and be successful. This study aimed to investigate whether there is a relationship between the quantity and quality of a campus landscape and the desire of students to remain at their chosen university. To get a sense of how students feel about the campus's outdoor built environmental features and amenities, a survey of the currently enrolled first-year through fourth-year students was performed using an instrument developed by a Doctoral student from Kent State University. The one thing that did stand out was the importance of formal and informal outdoor meeting places for the students: they overwhelmingly desired additional places to meet outdoors. The most significant trend was how essential the outdoor environment was toward supporting students' well-being and mental health. The study's results indicated relevance between the campus outdoor built environment and students' physical and mental health, promoting less stress, leading to a more successful student, and encouraging them to continue from one semester to the next, ultimately leading to graduation. The findings of this study may help university administrators better understand and appreciate the level of connection students have with the physical campus environment and can provide other landscape managers with the information needed to deliver the same services at their university.

Degree Date

Fall 12-17-2022

Document Type


Degree Name



Graduate Liberal Studies


Nicolay Tsarevsky, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

M. Carmen Smith, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Chris Logan, Ph.D.

Subject Area

Agricultural Sciences, Education, Humanities, Philosophy, Physiology, Sociology, Urban Planning

Number of Pages




Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License