Strive to make flourishing a primary part of everything that we do.
Flourish Emory (FE) aims to redefine the conventional meaning of student success, fully embrace wellness on a complete continuum from languishing to flourishing, and thereby influence Emory culture. Through a continual process that engages multiple community partners, Flourish Emory strives to evolve Emory’s campus culture to perpetually create conditions that make every student “more optimistic, happy and satisfied” (p.204, Csikszentmihalyi, 2009).” Essentially, the FE believes that student success goes beyond academic achievement or attainment of career goals and enters the realm of living a purposeful, meaningful and eudemonic life.
FE envisions Emory as an “enabler of wellbeing.” According to Helliwell (2011) institutions that enable well-being should embrace the following values:
1) Process matters. How something is done matters even more to wellbeing than does what is actually done.
2) Benevolence is its own reward, but working together to do good things for others is a super-charged form of benevolence.
3) People routinely under-estimate the extent to which others can be trusted, leading to declines in social engagement and weakening of social norms.
4) Individuals and institutions could improve wellbeing by building positive outcomes rather than merely repairing damage and avoiding risks.
5) Shared engagement trumps top-down.
Strategically, this does not mean ignoring an illness model of health, but rather, building upon the positive qualities of both individuals and the Emory community. This calls for the seamless integration of primary, secondary and tertiary strategies.
FE has already successfully engaged multiple community partners in an ongoing discussion about student wellness. The result of these discussions include the creation of a steering team that reports to the University Senate, the development of student leadership positions (e.g. FE Representative on the Student Leadership Roundtable), and several exciting initiatives.
In totality, these programs will cover languishing, moderately healthy and flourishing students and cultivate both individual and community eudemonia.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2009). The promise of positive psychology. Psychological topics, 18(2), 203-211.
Helliwell, J. F. (2011). Institutions as enablers of wellbeing: The Singapore prison case study. International Journal of Wellbeing, 1(2), 255-265.
For more information, contact Heather Zesiger at firstname.lastname@example.org
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