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Happiness Quest Coming to Plymouth

By Kelsey Davis; News Editor
On October 20, 2016

Happiness Quest Coming to Plymouth

Kelsey Davis '

News Editor


On October 22, from 10am-2pm, Plymouth State University will be hosting the kickoff event of the Happiness Quest. Started by Dr. Maria Sanders, an associate Philosophy professor at PSU, and several other members of faculty, the Happiness Quest is a year-long, community based research project. Anyone who lives in the Plymouth area is welcome to participate.

The Happiness Quest is made up of 35 events spread out through the year. The goal is that at the end of the year, the team is able to get a comprehensive idea of how happy those in Plymouth are and what exactly makes them happy. In order to get an accurate result, participants are encouraged to fill out a survey both at the first and last event. The main question Dr. Sanders is looking to answer is “do different types of connections or engagements impact people’s levels of happiness differently, and does the type of engagement matter?”

The first event held on October 22, will include music, a fire, and various tents including an arts and crafts tent. The event will also include the “Chalk Full of Happiness” activity, where participants are encouraged to draw on the sidewalks across Main Street and in front of businesses.

Another event being held at an undetermined time in the year is the building of “fairy houses” or habitat houses in Fox Pond Park. Cynthia Robinson, who oversees the art galleries on campus, is taking the lead. Participants will be able to build small houses for small woodland creatures using items from the environment.

While Dr. Sanders is taking the lead on the project, other contributors include Jessica Dutille, Psychology Professor Dr. Kathleen Herzig, Sociology Professor Dr. Robert Heiner, and the Director of Environmental Sustainability Dr. Brian Eisenhower. “The reason [we] are all involved is [because] philosophy brings the big ideas, psychology looks at sub-groups and individuals, and sociology looks at the large groups. The sustainability element is very important to us because we want whatever results we get to behave a long-term impact, not just something that’s going to go on for maybe 6 months. We’d like it to be life changing,” Dr. Sanders said.

The Happiness Quest will be turned into a documentary style television show, which will air on the Pemi-Baker cable TV station in the future. The first show of the television series will focus on what the Quest is as well as when upcoming events will happen. Subsequent shows will follow up on events. Each event will be filmed, so there is a chance that participants will be on TV.

If the event is successful, others from around the country or world may take Dr. Sanders’ lead and host their own Happiness Quest in their own towns or regions. 

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