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To Spread Authenticity, Happiness Project Comes to BC for the Second Year

The Happiness Project is a global movement aimed at pursuing genuine happiness through a scientific method, sparked by Gretchen Rubin’s New York Times bestseller, The Happiness Project, which has sold in over 35 different countries. For the second time, UGBC will collaborate with seven other major campus organizations to bring The Happiness Project to Boston College from Feb. 1 through 5.

Last year, BC’s Happiness Project was brought to campus through collaboration between the Office of Health Promotion (OHP) and Undergraduate Government of Boston College. This year, UGBC, the OHP, the Campus Activities Board, Agape Latte, the Random Acts of Kindness Club, The Gavel, Campus Ministry, Humans of Boston College, as well as other service programs are all collaborating to bring The Happiness Project to BC for the second time. This large collaboration is part of an effort to reach as many students on campus as possible, in response to last year’s large turnout and positive student responses.

“This is going to be one of the biggest programs we put on this year, so far, because of the immense collaboration and the variety of interest areas we are trying to target,” Sloan Renfro, a member of the executive council of UGBC and MCAS ’16, said.

The Happiness Project will hold events ranging from a Zumba class to the “What I Be” campaign and Happiness Talks. While the project’s focus last year was on positivity, the emphasis this year will be on authenticity.

“Not everyone can just wake up, get out of bed, and turn on their ‘happy switch,’” Theresa Rager, UGBC Director of campus dialogue and MCAS ’17, said. “It’s important to be authentic and show how you’re really feeling, and being your true self.”

This year’s Happiness Project is split into five specific areas of happiness: personal happiness, relational happiness, campus happiness, community and society happiness, and world and cultural happiness. Each day, the planned events will focus on one of these areas of happiness.

On Monday, Feb. 1 in Devlin 008, the Happiness Project’s evening events will kick off with the “What I Be” Closing Ceremony. The “What I Be” Campaign, which was held from Jan. 25 through Feb. 1, is a movement that is centered on empowerment through honesty. The campaign came to BC last October, when Steve Rosenfield photographed 70 BC students, who had written their biggest insecurities on their hands and faces.

The honesty and authenticity that the campaign focuses on are meant to empower both the participants and those who are struggling with similar insecurities. The goal of the movement is to raise awareness and effect change. On Feb. 4, there will be a series of Happiness Talks that will feature the Authentic Eagles, students who write about their experiences finding their authentic selves at BC. During this event, a series of seniors who have written for Authentic Eagles will speak about what authenticity means to them.

“There are a lot of ideal BC student images that float around whether they are true or not, and it kind of creates a culture of negativity instead of positivity,” Rager said. “So we’re trying to say, like, ‘Get those stereotypes out of your head and embrace who you are and be yourself.’ And through that we hope that the positivity will sort of dominate over that negativity.”

The final event of the week will be a campus-wide Zumba class on Friday in Gasson 100. A School of Theology and Ministry student, whose focus in graduate school is centered on how body and activity connect to spirituality, will teach this class.

“It’s kind of important to remind ourselves of our values and refocus on positivity and authenticity, and kind of reflect on what campus culture we have going on right now, and what we can do to make it better,” Rager said.

Featured Image by Clare Kim / Heights Archives

January 31, 2016