Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Lisa M. DeChano-Cook

Second Advisor

Dr. Adam Mathews

Third Advisor

Dr. Lucius Hallett


Disasters, perceptions, geography, statistics, preparedness

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Preparing for disasters at universities differs throughout the country but taking preventative measures is the first step in reducing loss of life and recovery measures. This research examined differences among undergraduate students regarding perceptions when it comes to extreme cold events at Western Michigan University (WMU). The main focus of the thesis was to determine if there is a lack of awareness and/or preparation measures of extreme cold events. Data were collected online using a specially designed questionnaire through Qualtrics. Survey questions were coded and analyzed using SPSS software using standard univariate descriptive statistics and/or multivariate statistical tests deemed appropriate. Results indicated that a majority of respondents have experienced more than four extreme cold events and do not see extreme winter weather to be an issue. Results also demonstrated that perceptions of WMU undergraduate students regarding extreme cold events have no significant differences regarding class standing and gender. However, a great number of respondents do not have any formal emergency training and do not take proper vehicle and home preparation measures when it comes to extreme cold events.