Exploring the Wild: Unveiling Motivations, Barriers, and the Impact of the University of Wyoming Outdoor Program on Student Belonging and Inclusion

Johansen, Natalie
The University of Wyoming’s Outdoor Program offers the opportunity to explore the role of outdoor recreation while creating a sense of belonging among college students. This case study investigates the motivations, barriers, and impacts of student participation in the Outdoor Program through collected survey data from 210 respondents. Primary motivations included exploring new places, experiencing nature, and learning new skills, while key barriers were lack of time and lack of information. Findings revealed higher engagement among seniors, graduate students, and those frequently participating in independent outdoor activities. Most participants felt included during outings and reported a strengthened connection to the university community. These results highlight campus outdoor programs’ potential to create a sense of belonging and overall student well-being. As institutions address enrollment and retention challenges, leveraging outdoor programming can be a valuable tool for engagement and success.
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University of Wyoming Libraries
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Outdoor Program,Barriers,Motivation,Sense of Belonging,University
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