The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 57

Chris Heasley * Katie Boone * Denise L. Davidson

Students' Sense of Community

forcement of needs, membership, and shared emotional connection. Campus residence students
reported slightly higher mean scores for the
element of influence (see Table 4). Despite these
results, no difference reached a statistically significant threshold at Eastern University.

0.05 (two-tailed) with an extremely small effect
size (r = 0.08). No significant differences were
found for the other three subscales.
Further analysis sought to determine
student differences in SOC by institution. At
Western University, no significant difference
in reinforcement of needs was reported by students in campus residences in comparison
to those in P3 housing. The remaining three
elements of SOC (membership, influence, and
shared emotional connection) reached statistical
significance with small to medium effect sizes.
In contrast, statistical inferences for Eastern
University provided very different results. Students in P3 accommodations reported higher
mean scores for three elements of SOC: rein-

Qualitative Results
Central themes surfaced from focus group
data. Three factors were found to influence
SOC: consumer-mindedness, first-year experiences, and upper-division residence facility
design. Unexpectedly, focus group participants
also shared information that demonstrated a
relationship between housing selection and
SOC. Specifically, participants articulated that

	 Table 4
	 Independent Samples t-Test Mean Comparison of Sense of Community by Site for Students in
	 Campus Residences and P3 Housing
Campus residence	
P3 housing
			
					
	 Site	
Sense of community	 			
N	
M	SD	
	N	 M	 SD	df	 t	
		
element									

Sig.	Eta-	
squared

(2-tailed)*	

	Western	
	University

Membership	

51	

13.55	

4.70	 296	

11.95	

3.86	 345	

2.64	

0.01	

0.14

	 Western	
	 University	

Influence	

51 	

15.02	

4.14	

296	

12.85	

3.99	

345	

3.57	

0.00	

0.19

	 Western	
	 University	

Reinforcement of	
needs

51	

17.57	

3.92	 295	

16.51	

4.12	

344	

1.72	

0.09	

0.09

	 Western	
	 University	

Shared emotional	
connection

51	

15.00	

4.92	 295	

13.47	

4.46	

344	

2.23	

0.03	

0.12

	Eastern	
	University

Membership	

71	

11.70	

3.55	 119	

12.48	

3.37	

188	

-1.50	

0.13	

0.11

	Eastern	
	 University	

Influence	

70	

12.33	

3.67	 118	

12.24	

3.61	

186	

0.17	

0.87	

0.01

	 Eastern	
	 University	

Reinforcement of	
needs

71	

13.97	

4.18	

121	

15.07	

3.57	

190	

-1.92	

0.06	

0.14

	 Eastern	
	 University	

Shared emotional	
connection

71	

11.30	

3.94	

119	

12.36	

3.93	

188	

-1.81	

0.07	

0.13

	 Note. *p = .05
56

THE JOURNAL OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY STUDENT HOUSING

their SOC experiences were impacted most by
relationships developed with roommates/suitemates and their subsequent housing choice,
often influencing the other. Thus, it is difficult
to separate SOC from roommate and housing
selection as a distinct theme, as can be seen in
the narrative that follows.

. . . students reported that they

Consumer-mindedness. Focus group participants indicated their awareness of cost and
facility location as influencing factors of SOC
through their choice of housing. Affordability
was the most important factor in accommodation selection, outweighing the interest in facility amenities and property traits for campus
and P3 housing residents. One Eastern University campus residence hall student stated,
"My friends chose to live in the privatized accommodation because it was, for them, more
affordable, but for me, it was much more
expensive." Similarly, a Western University
campus residence hall student mentioned that
her friends chose housing where "costs may
be twice as much as what I pay." Participants
were extraordinarily concerned about how to
pay for their housing, indicating that financial circumstances took priority over housing
with friends and often served as a catalyst for
parting from existing community networks.
Finances seemed of paramount importance,
despite possible unintended negative consequences resulting from physical separation
from friendship circles.

their understanding of how to

Location was a secondary factor in housing
selection for focus group participants. The
distance between housing and vital campus
resources, such as academic buildings, the
student union, and recreational facilities, was
influential in housing choice; however, tolerance for proximity varied by campus context

experienced stronger community
development during their first year
in on-campus residences. These
initial experiences established
cultivate campus friendships and
relationships and defined how they
continued to develop a sense of
community in subsequent years.

and culture. For instance, one Eastern University campus residence hall participant commented, "I like everything about [my housing],
location, price wise. It's better than [residence
hall] where other people live, like my roommate from last year." A Western University
campus residence hall participant shared,
"What I enjoy most is the location to how close
it is to campus. Well, it's practically on-campus
. . . I can just wake up and then all the classes
that I have are, like, five minutes or less away."
For some, closer proximity to resources swayed
their decision against living with friends who
opted for facilities farther away.
Despite a strong consumer inclination in
relation to housing choice, several participants
in the focus group provided ill-informed narratives regarding housing option differences.
Based on additional documentation and information gathered from both universities
and the P3 by the research team, we determined that several students gave inaccurate
V O L U M E 4 6 , NO. 2 * 2 0 2 0

57



The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2

Contents
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - Intro
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