Impacts of Campus Involvement on Hospitality Student Achievement and Satisfaction

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Although most students are primarily involved in study and classwork, involvement in student clubs and organizations is also common (Baird, 1990). About 80% of traditional-aged undergraduate students engage in one or more extra-curricular activities (Kapp, 1979). Virtually all colleges and universities in the United States have offered a wide variety of campus activities and events that stimulate and encourage social, cultural, intellectual, and recreational interactions by providing learning experiences outside of the classroom (Campus Activities and Events, 2006).

Previous research studies have shown that correlation between academic and campus involvement is positive and linear (Austin, 1984/1999; Pace, 1990; Moore et al., 1998). In order to maximize cognitive and affective growth, students should be involved in both academic and extra-curricular activities as much as possible (Moore et al., 1998). The more involved that college students are in the academic and social aspects of campus life, the more they benefit in terms of learning and personal development. The concept of campus involvement may transcend the bounds of culture and ethnic groups (Hernandez et al, 1999; Hoffman, 2002).

Although involvement in campus events is strongly encouraged by some parents and faculty, others pay little or no attention at all to campus activities (Boyer, 1987; Kuh, 1991). A number of people assume that regular involvement in student clubs and organizations may divert or distract students from serious academic work (Black, 2002). Thus, despite the call for integration of academic and co-curricular life and mounting evidence indicating the contributions of co-curricular activities to student psychosocial and cognitive development, co-curricular involvement is often considered unnecessary or secondary to academic involvement (Terenzini et al., 1996). Students who are frequently involved in campus events have relatively little time and energy for academic work because their psychic and physical time and energy are finite (Pascarella and Terenzini, 1991). Similarly, students who are intensely involved with academic work have relatively little time and energy to engage in various campus activities (Pascarella and Terenzini, 1991; Terenzini et al., 1996).

The relationship between college campus involvement and student achievement remains highly debatable through the present day. Research studies have shown that certain student organizations and extracurricular activities not only promote student achievement, but also increase general satisfaction with the academic experience (Clubs and Organizations, 2006; Campus Activities and Events, 2006). Such activities encourage social interaction and involve students in their campus community resulting in more positive relationship while in college. However, is more campus involvement better or are there upper limits beyond which increasing involvement ceases to produce desirable academic results and can even become counterproductive (Pascarella and Terenzini 1991; Terenzini et al., 1996)? To explore this question, involvement in academic work and extra-curricular activities at University X was examined.

The objective of this study was to compare hospitality undergraduate students who currently engage in campus activities with those who do not by investigating the relationships among overall academic achievement of students (overall GPA), level of campus involvement, level of student satisfaction in campus activities, continuous club participation, and club recommendation to friends.

METHODOLOGY

Questionnaire Development and Administration

To facilitate this study, an informed consent letter and survey instrument were constructed and disseminated to 109 hospitality undergraduate students at University X on April 25-26, 2006. This survey contained four sets of close-ended questions. Part I consisted of 11 multiple-choice questions concerning the demographic and academic profiles of students. …