In addition to lengthening days and flowering trees, students have one more reason to smile due to the launch of the Daily Dose of Happiness project on Thursday, April 4. Organized by Isabella Cucchi ’13, Hazal Muhtar ’14, Emma Weizenbaum ’13, Leah Khambata ’14, and Max Rosenman ’13, the Daily Dose of Happiness project is an initiative aimed at promoting happiness by sending positive, daily emails to students who subscribe to the email list.
“The idea came from someone who had this terrible habit of looking at celebrity gossip all the time,” Weizenbaum explained. “It was really negative, awful with body image stuff, and it was sad news.”
Negativity, the project’s staff members noted, floods the internet and pertains not only to tabloid gossip. The Daily Dose of Happiness, a project for the five staff members’ Positive Psychology class, is a response to the pervasive negativity on the Internet. The project aims to bring its subscribers positivity at the beginning of each day.
“I feel like when I wake up in the morning, it’s really nice to check my email and see something positive instead of articles for homework or a note from my parents,” Cucchi said. “We have a particular[ly] good group to do this project because we’re so diverse in and of ourselves. We have a male athlete. We have a female international student. We have all different types of interests coming into play.”
Each email contains one item of content per day. The content ranges from pictures of puppies and children, to poetry, to YouTube videos.
“We wanted to keep them short,” Muhtar said. “Students send a lot emails so we don’t want to overwhelm them with anything. We just want to give them one nice thing to smile about.”
The Daily Dose of Happiness staff emphasized their willingness to listen to suggestions and response from subscribers. Students who wish to join the email list must fill out a short interest form where they are asked to submit what they are interested in seeing in the emails. In addition, the group sends out weekly feedback forms to receive input from students.
“I think one of our main goals is to take in the diverse interests of the people that filled out our interest form into account,” Cucchi said. “We got [many] suggestions, from really cute puppies and, like, ‘cool shit,’ to inspiring new stories, to things that will help me wake up every morning. [The emails] really range from serious to not serious.”
Many students praise the project’s aim to promote happiness.
“I think that’s a good thing, especially in a college environment where there are a lot of things that can make people unhappy,” said Jamie Jung ’16.
The staff chose to use an email list because they hope to make the Daily Dose of Happiness as easily accessible as possible.
“It’s nothing that requires too much [work],” Weizenbaum said. “I can click on the email and be happy.”
However, some students expressed doubts about this passive way of receiving happiness.
“I think it’s interesting and a good thing, but I find happiness in day-to-day things,” said Aime Arroyo-Remirez ’16.
According to Cucchi, 115 students are currently subscribed to the Daily Dose of Happiness email list, with a balanced distribution between class years. The staff members are looking to expand its subscription base, and indicate that they would like to maintain the project for the University community after this semester.
“I’m hoping to continue this, hopefully with Leah, who’s also a junior,” Muhtar said. “Depending on the success of it, we could even talk to our psych professor to see if she’d be willing to share that with her upcoming Positive Psych class, to see if someone would be willing to take over after we graduate.”
Students who are interested in subscribing to the Daily Dose of Happiness email list can find the interest form on Wesleying, or can view an archive of all posts on the project’s blog at www.wesdailydoseofhappiness.tumblr.com.
“It feels like I’m part of something bigger, like I’m part of this positive community, and I know there are a lot of other people receiving this email that also want to be happier,” Cucchi said. “It’s just a really nice reminder that the Wesleyan community is committed to feeling good every day.”