School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Michael Shenkle


retention, campus recreation, freshmen, higher education budgets


Education | Higher Education


Campus recreation facilities and programs provide various environments and opportunities outside of the classroom for students to socialize, participate in sports, improve their physical fitness, and learn new skills. Existing research has explored the relationship between participation in campus recreation and the social, academic, and physical impacts it has on the lives of students. The purpose of this quantitative correlational study was to determine if participation in various types of campus recreation held predictive significance regarding year-over-year retention of first year college students at a large, private university. The predictor variables were participation in club sports, intramural sports, outdoor recreation, student activities events, and usage of the on-campus fitness center. Archival data drawn from the university’s database of records provided a sample of 2,857 students for the 2017-2018 academic year, 2,780 students for the 2018-2019 academic year, and 2,742 students for the 2019-2020 academic year. Logistic regressions were conducted at the 95% confidence interval which produced results indicating statistical significance for the full model for all three years. Of the predictor variables, student activities participation displayed significance all three years, intramural sports participation was significant twice, and fitness center usage was significant once. Odds ratios for the predictor variables revealed that four out of five were positively associated with retention for each academic year. The results from this study add to the existing body of literature that explores the relationship between various types of campus recreation and year-over-year retention. Additionally, these results demonstrate a link between social events and year-over-year retention.