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A.L. McFarland, T.M. Waliczek and J.M. Zajicek

Researchers have found that students' perception of their overall academic experience and the campus environment is related to academic accomplishment. Additionally, studies have found that the designed environment of the university can influence the degree of stress students may feel. The main objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between undergraduate university student use of campus green spaces and their perceptions of quality of life at a university in Texas. A total of 2334 students or 10% of the undergraduate student body received e-mails with information regarding the incentive for participation and instructions on accessing an online survey. The survey included questions that related to student use of campus green spaces, overall quality of life statements, an instrument to measure the quality of life of university students, and demographic questions. A total of 373 surveys was collected and analyzed to compare levels of quality of life of university students and the level of usage of campus green spaces. Demographic information collected allowed controlling for student grade classification, gender, and ethnicity. Frequency statistics determined that, on average, more than half the students were ranked as “high-users” of the campus green spaces, and very few students were considered “low-users.” Frequency statistics also determined that most students rated their overall quality of life and quality of life of university students positively. Additionally, this study found that undergraduate student use of campus green spaces and perceptions of quality of life were related to each other.

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A.L. McFarland, T.M. Waliczek and J.M. Zajicek

Students' perception of their overall academic experience and the campus environment is related to academic accomplishment, and research has found that the designed environment of the university can influence the degree of stress students may feel. Past research found that undergraduate student use of campus green spaces and perceptions of quality of life were related to each other. The main objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between graduate student use of campus green spaces and their perceptions of quality of life at a university in Texas. A total of 347 of 3279 (≈10%) of the graduate student body received e-mails with information regarding the incentive for participation and instructions on accessing an on-line survey. The survey included questions that related to student use of campus green spaces, overall quality of life statements, an instrument to measure the quality of life of university students, and demographic questions. A total of 79 (22.8% response rate) graduate student questionnaires were collected and analyzed to compare perceptions of quality of life of university students and the level of individual usage of campus green spaces. Descriptive statistics determined that, unlike undergraduates who were primarily “high users” of campus green spaces, graduate students were about equally split between being “low,” “medium,” and “high users” of campus green spaces. However, graduate students still ranked their quality of life highly. Finally, this study found that, unlike undergraduates, graduate students did not have a statistically significant relationship between green-user scores and perception of quality of life scores. It may be that graduate students have less time to spend in outdoor spaces, yet still meet their quality of life needs through other means such as academic achievements.

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Geralyn A. Nolan, Amy L. McFarland, Jayne M. Zajicek and Tina M. Waliczek

Child obesity has become a national concern. Obesity in children ages 6–17 years has more than doubled in the past 30 years. Only 20% of children today consume the recommended daily servings of fruit and vegetables. This trend is even more pronounced in minority populations. Past studies have reported a horticulture-based curriculum, including gardening, can improve children’s attitudes toward eating fruit and vegetables. To investigate whether children of a minority population can benefit from gardening combined with a curriculum on nutrition, research was conducted with elementary schools in a primarily Hispanic region of Texas. Elementary school teachers participating in this research agreed to have school gardens and complete all activities in a curriculum on nutrition provided to them through the Texas Agrilife Extension Service. One hundred and forty-one children in the participating schools completed a pre- and posttest evaluating their nutritional knowledge, preference for fruit and vegetables, and snack choices before and after a gardening program supplemented with nutrition education. Differences were detected between pre- and posttest scores for all three variables. After comparing pre- and posttest scores, it was concluded that gardening and nutritional instruction had a positive effect on students’ nutritional knowledge, fruit and vegetable preference (FVP), and snack choices.