The benefits of being a volunteer campus tour guide

Open Access
Qian, Xinyi
Graduate Program:
Recreation, Park and Tourism Management
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
Committee Members:
  • Careen M Yarnal, Thesis Advisor
  • volunteer
  • serious leisure
  • college student
  • campus tour guide
  • benefit
In this study, we investigated benefits received by college students who volunteer as campus tour guides in their leisure time. Leisure researchers have not studied this volunteer activity, nor have they studied benefits of volunteering received by college students. Data were collected using participant observation and in-depth interviews with fifteen volunteer campus tour guides at a public university in the Northeast US. Four types of benefit emerged from the data, including psychological, social, instrumental, and communal. The results confirmed past studies, but also extended the knowledge on benefits of volunteering by demonstrating benefits not identified by previous research. While past studies on benefits of volunteering mainly adopted the serious leisure framework, our study suggested that venturing beyond serious leisure may generate richer findings. The results also provided suggestions on managing volunteer campus tour guides for university administration. Future directions are suggested as well.