John Greene

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Agricultural and Resource Economics

Committee Chair

David Smaldone

Committee Co-Chair

Marion Holmes

Committee Member

Steven Selin


Researchers utilized a quasi-experimental design to assess outcomes associated with outdoor orientation programming. Researchers measured quantitative variables associated with sense of place and belongingness. Literature suggests a theoretical association between individuals' relationship to place and their sense of belonging to others. To test these variables researchers created a curriculum designed to facilitate sense of place for students participating in week long outdoor orientation programs. A sample (n=228) of incoming students to West Virginia University participating in outdoor orientation trips was split into an experimental group and a control group. The control group received a standardized curriculum designed to successfully transition students to collegiate life. The experimental group received the curriculum designed to facilitate sense place in addition to the standardized collegiate transition curriculum. Students were surveyed pre-trip, post-trip, and at the end of their first semester. Researchers hypothesized increases in sense of place and belongingness across the sample with significantly higher increases for the treatment group. A Friedman Test was used to determine changes within groups. Results show a highly significant increase pre-trip to post-trip for all groups (control and treatment) with no change post-trip to end of semester. Researchers utilized a Mann Whitney Test to determine any differences in change between control and treatment groups. Results did not indicate a significant difference in change between groups. To ascertain the relationship between the constructs of sense of place and belongingness researchers utilized Spearman's Rank Order Correlation. Results indicate a moderate to high positive correlation between constructs. Trends in the data suggest that meaningful structured experience may serve to facilitate both sense of place and belongingness for participants in outdoor orientation programming, potentially minimizing the role of time in a place in respect to the development of sense of place. Implications for managers and practitioners are discussed as well as limitations to the current research and suggestions for future research.