The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Campus Nature RX: Cultivating well-being through outdoor experiences

Aggie+Nature+RX+members+do+yoga+at+sunset+in+Aggie+Park+on+Monday%2C+May+1%2C+2023.%26%23160%3B
Courtesy of Ella Gates

Aggie Nature RX members do yoga at sunset in Aggie Park on Monday, May 1, 2023. 

Alongside the academic rigor at Texas A&M, a new initiative is  looking to enhance the mental well being of students. Campus Nature RX, a student-run organization on campus, is inspiring Aggies to embrace the great outdoors, according to their website. 

Founded on the belief that nature holds incredible healing potential according to their website, Campus Nature RX is dedicated to fostering a stronger connection between students and the natural world, promoting a sense of well-being and reducing stress levels. 

“We strive to connect students to the outdoors through recreation and service,” Campus RX president and biomedical engineering junior Emme Kilgard said. “On a weekly basis we do an outdoor study hour, just to hang out and have a time where people are being intentionally outside.”

The organization has been gaining momentum on campus since its establishment earlier this February, Kilgard said. Campus Nature RX is a nationwide chapter with 50 participating campuses across the U.S. 

Campus Nature RX provides a diverse range of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, study sessions and mindfulness exercises in natural settings. These activities are designed to reduce stress and anxiety while promoting overall mental well-being, Kilgard said.

Kilgard said the organization is a platform for fostering a love for service rather than just connecting with nature. 

“This coming weekend, we are doing a trash pick up at Wolf Pen Creek Park,” Kilgard said. “Just helping clean up the city of College Station — that does so much for us students.”

Public health sophomore Ella Gates has been a member since earlier this year. Campus Nature RX has become a lifeline for relieving stress with a diverse student body on campus, Gates said.

Campus Nature RX’s success in attracting students is due, in part, to the versatility of its activities, Gates said. Whether students are seeking a casual outdoor experience or a more challenging adventure, the organization offers experiences such as study groups, hiking and nature walks.

“We have a lot of people that are open to learning about health and nature, all who are all really passionate about it,” Gates said. “One thing I love about Campus Nature RX is that there aren’t many requirements to stay as an active member. We are really just there to help people to get time outside.”

According to Campus Nature RX, time spent outdoors has been linked to reduced stress, improved mood, increased creativity and enhanced cognitive function.

Environmental and Occupational health professor Jay Maddock, Ph.D, who specializes in health and nature, said he hopes to see this chapter flourish.

“Advocating for more green space on campus, we are seeing such an increase in the need for mental health services on campus,” Maddock said. “Nature is a great preventive measure for anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions. We would love for that to be the first line of defense for every student, to keep them feeling good during their time here at A&M.”

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