Counseling psychology, undergraduate, mental health, nature, environmental psychology, nature engagement, nature exposure


Nature-exposure interventions on university campuses may serve as an effective addition to overburdened counseling and student support centers. Nature-exposure interventions can work as a preventative health measure on campuses, which can be used adjacently with existing health resources. This paper outlines the potential benefits of nature exposure for students’ physical health, mental well-being, and academic success. Previous research has demonstrated that nature exposure may help reduce cognitive load, decrease negative psychological symptoms, increase psychological coping ability, and lead to better physical health. Many campuses already contain green spaces, defined as any part of an environment that is predominately made of natural elements, and these green spaces comprise an untapped resource that is relatively cheap and simple. This paper will outline interventions that use campus green spaces to improve student outcomes. The interventions include adding green space to university buildings and grounds, dedicating already natural environments as nature restoration areas, and providing means for outdoor excursions. Potential limitations and suggested areas for future research are also addressed.