March 31, 2008
Happiness Summit finds web of support is key
By Kim urquhart
It takes three positives to overpower one negative, said Associate Professor of Sociology Corey Keyes, known by his students as “Dr. Positive,” at the recent Emory Happiness Summit that brought together a group of students, faculty and staff to explore both the quantifiable and intangible nature of the topic.
Inspired by Emory Magazine’s “Chasing Happiness” issue, which features articles centered around the theme of happiness and mental well-being, the Happiness Summit provided an opportunity to learn about the positive forces already at work Emory, identify challenges and spark new ideas.
“The mission of this summit was to bring key people across the University together to both discuss the importance of ‘chasing happiness’ as we weave a web of support for each other, and to hopefully generate a rough road map to catalyze future discussions and action,” said Santa Ono, vice provost for academic initiatives, who helped organize the event after student leaders including Alex Kappus, Jessica Annis and Leah Isquith presented the idea.
At issue were some of the challenges students, faculty and staff face in achieving this simple, yet often elusive goal, including stress, mental illness and the negative forces that can arise from a fragmented community.
Framing the discussions were a range of presentations, including student groups such as Synergy, which is striving to unite the campus and make it a friendlier, more inclusive place through unique events like the Synergyville Carnival April 4.
Breaking into groups, participants discussed questions such as “What experiences have you had in the Emory community that have led to happiness in your life?” and “What are the barriers?” Summaries of these thoughts will be collected into a draft white paper, said Ono.