Middleton Library

Troy H. Middleton Library

Outdoor classrooms and study spaces would massively improve the health and mental well-being of University students.

A walk across the University reveals bustling classrooms flanked by the always impressive architectural landscape. On a day-to-day basis, the campus is full of guests who marvel at the beauty of the school, but often students aren’t able to enjoy the green spaces. With open fields, blooming azaleas, broad oaks and stately magnolias, our school is full of natural beauty, yet the University has virtually no outdoor study spaces.

The University should invest in outdoor study spaces as a means to improve the general well-being of the students. Several studies have shown how spending time outdoors leads to reduced symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety. It could lead to a general boost to overall mental health and cognition.

Schools should be doing everything in their power to help students with mental health problems. Classes on coping methods for stress and anxiety could be offered as courses.

Outdoor study spaces would create a viable alternative as a place for students to study and rest. Working outside has become increasingly popular. As mental health continues to be a problem facing students, these spaces have popped up at universities across the country. Students can participate at their fullest potential when their mental health is taken care of.

Middleton Library has been under scrutiny recently as students contrasted the dilapidated facility with the new football operations buildings. Study spaces in impressive facilities are at a premium around the school. Outside of Patrick F. Taylor Hall and the Business Education Complex there is a limited amount of study space open to students.

The incorporation of green study spaces would create opportunities for students to break out of their normal routines and experience the beauty of the University’s campus. I believe the University should have students at the heart of their plans and function. Students should be put in a position to succeed. The University can take a step toward a more holistic approach at student health by promoting spending time outdoors. Studying outside has massive benefits and the University should promote it on campus.

Cory Koch is a 20-year-old political science junior from Alexandria, Louisiana.

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