The Impact of college union involvement on student perceptions of sense of belonging and campus climate
Lang, Heidi E.
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College unions have long been promoted as community builders and laboratories for learning. However, little research has been conducted to understand the relationship between college unions and community building. The purpose of this study was to identify if a relationship exists between college union involvement and student perceptions of sense of belonging and campus climate, and to explore how students make sense of their college union experiences. Correlation and regression techniques were applied to 478 college union student employee and volunteer survey responses at a large Midwestern university. The results suggest a statistically significant relationship between event attendance and a favorable view of campus climate. The analysis of ten student journals revealed a relationship between sense of belonging within the college union and perceptions of campus climate. Students developed sense of belonging by utilizing their voice, growing their leadership perspective, meaningfully interacting with diverse others, and participating in programming. This dissertation serves as the first mixed methods study to provide empirical evidence that there is a relationship between involvement in the college union and student perceptions of sense of belonging and campus climate. Study findings suggest that college union involvement plays an important role in community building and student learning.
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