emoment with carl

How do we measure progress? For a society as a whole, a typical measure has long been to think that economic growth equals greater happiness. Economist Simon Kuznets’ groundbreaking report to Congress on measuring gross national product in the midst of the Great Depression became a best seller in 1934. Ever since, whether or not GNP (or, more recently, GDP, gross domestic product) is going up or down is reported from the media as a measure of how a society is doing. It is certainly true that people tend to appreciate greater income and wealth, and tough times economically contribute to individual unhappiness and family breakdown. Yet economists and psychologists alike know that the link between economics and happiness is complex. What’s true for societies is true for individuals. Having a job makes a huge difference in personal happiness. Yet we all know those who are wealthy, yet unhappy, and those who live with much less who seem fulfilled. Health is one key variable. Hence the push for us all to exercise, eat a healthier diet, and avoid or cope with stress.


 At Elizabethtown College, we have encouraged intramural sports, recreation, and healthy eating as part of what we want young people to cultivate now in order to shape the rest of their lives. Wellness is certainly a laudable goal, but even the motivation to stay healthy often depends on one’s relationships and habits of mind and will. Well-being best captures the goal we at Elizabethtown College would like to spread throughout our campus community, for students, staff, and faculty. Well-being encompasses a life of purpose, that is, using one’s talents; engagement, that is, connecting with other people in meaningful relationships; and vitality, nurturing one’s body, health, and emotions in order to be resilient and positive.


The Ken and Rosalie Bowers Center for Sports, Fitness, and Well-being, for which we had a ceremonial groundbreaking recently, encapsulates much of our goal of well-being. Marianne Calenda, Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students, who has shaped the College’s vision for the Center, explains: “The Bowers Center distinguishes Elizabethtown as a College for well-being where students, staff and faculty benefit from a commitment to energized and creative living. We will expand opportunities to develop physical health through individual strength and group fitness programs, to practice resilience through personal goal setting, leadership, and sports, to practice mindfulness and explore spirituality with faculty and staff mentors, and to learn more about essential links among food, culture, and health with regional scientists, farmers, and chefs in our demonstration kitchen. The Bowers Center and its integrative programs will be enriched by our belief in the power of strengths-based learning for lives of meaning and purpose.”  

Elizabethtown College emphasizes health and well-being through a variety of on-campus activities and programs, including the dance and performance club, E-Motion.

Enjoy the moment,

Carl J. Strikwerda,

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Elizabethtown College
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