Graduate Program

College Student Affairs

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Dianne Timm


Finding one’s sense of belonging has the capability to serve as the tipping point between success in college, and failure. According to McMillian and Chavis (1996), sense of belonging can be defined as the sense of community that members feel when they are in an environment and around other members. A way to achieve premier sense of belonging is by the creation of a caring, supportive and welcoming environment within the university. This study was designed to focus on the importance campus space plays in the creation of sense of belonging. Using a qualitative approach known as photovoice, the researcher provided cameras to four unique students and asked them to take photos of space on campus that impact them, and then engaged in dialogue about the photos. The participants represented four different identities and interests of students: a sorority member, a resident assistant, a student athlete, and an underrepresented student. Results varied by each participant’s interest. The photos taken represented spaces on campus frequently used or often used in the past; residence halls, recreation facility, iconic locations, and study locations. After analysis, the physical environment of campus serves as a conduit to belonging and the intentional creation of spaces for students to engage will have an impact.