The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Social Work: M.S.W


Social Work


School of Health and Human Services

First Advisor

Sara DeVos

Second Advisor

Deola Brumbaugh-Johnson

Third Advisor

Erica Karger-Gatzow

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Peer Wellness Coaching, Retention, Motivational Interviewing, Sense of Belonging


This study’s purpose was to contribute and further the body of knowledge on improving students’ sense of belonging. This study examined a relationship between Peer Wellness Coaching, on St. Cloud State University’s campus, to students’ sense of belonging. It studied how participating in Peer Wellness Coaching may impact students’ perception of how well they belong to St. Cloud State University’s campus. Research has shown students with a higher sense of belonging are more likely to succeed in school and persist through to graduation. The participants for this study included students enrolled at St. Cloud State University during Fall 2019 semester. Over two-thirds of these students indicated an increase sense of belonging to campus, as a result of participating in Peer Wellness Coaching. The students indicated several variables, related to an increased sense of belonging, such as: feeling comfortable discussing their wellness goals, wanting to recommend Peer Wellness Coaching to other students, and feeling the location was appropriate for their appointment. This study leaves the potential for additional analysis of St. Cloud State University’s Peer Wellness Coaching program and its impact of a causal relationship between students’ sense of belonging, as a means to improve retention rates. This study provided an initial framework for further study of Peer Wellness Coaching’s impact on creating an inclusive environment, where all students feel a sense of connection to campus—leading to an increase in student retention rates.