TheAggie: Proposed “happy class” explores personal happiness

Originally posted to The Aggie on March 14, 2014

By Laura Fitzgerald

ASUCD president Carly Sandstrom is working to implement a course that promotes overall happiness on the UC Davis campus.

According to Sandstrom, these “happy classes” are offered at other universities, including Harvard, Yale and Stanford. Students who enroll in these seminars have the opportunity to explore the idea of happiness and find various ways to achieve happiness without the stress of a grade or an excessive amount of homework.

Sandstrom explained that the class would work to “de-stigmatize” mental health.

“The hope is this could be a class that allows you to explore such an idea of happiness without being bound by a grade that could potentially harm your ability to de-stress and explore,” Sandstrom said.

The course would be offered as a pass/no pass seminar and would be available to all grade levels.

Sandstrom is currently working with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) faculty to find a way to implement this course and create a class that would fit in at the UC Davis campus. In addition to the psychological and counseling services offered at CAPS, this class would offer students a different type of forum to explore personal happiness. The arrival date for this class is still to be determined, and the class will have to first be approved by Academic Senate before being offered on campus.

According to Sandstrom, this type of class would be beneficial to UC Davis students because of the competitive and stressful nature of college and the expectations placed on students by their professors, peers and themselves.

“UC Davis is becoming a more and more difficult university to get into as well as stay in,” Sandstrom said. “Many students face pressure from home, classmates, themselves, etc. and struggle to identify what makes them happy and what their definition of success is.”

While this class is still in the early stages of research and gathering information, Sandstrom will continue to work on the idea in the hopes of the seminar being offered to UC Davis in the near future.

“My hope is that this happiness class would shed light on the pressures that students face and take a proactive approach in helping students determine how to cope with that in a pragmatic way that takes away the stigma around seeking therapy or help,” Sandstrom said.

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