GODFREY – A new music video produced by a wide collaboration of Lewis and Clark Community College students, faculty and staff seeks to find some positivity and share kindness amid the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Sharing Happiness takes viewers on a jubilant tour of campus as it’s brightened up with hearts and messages of support and caring in sidewalk chalk.

The idea for the project came from Professor Chrissie Chapman’s Science of Happiness class.

“My students wanted to do an act of kindness, so we came up with this fun idea for a video,” Chapman said. “We watched a video in class of two sisters in Arizona who had worked to chalk their neighborhoods, and we wanted to do something similar. I really encourage people to watch it and share it with others. There’s a real sense of beauty in the images, and the song is all about unity in a time when we feel divided. Our goal was to bring a sense of community and a sense of hope.”

Several dozen volunteers from multiple departments and classes stepped forward to be part of the project. Multiple performers from the L&C Music Department used lyrics and music written by Chapman to record the song, which was produced by Department Coordinator Louis Michael. Former L&C student Jason McAtee and L&C Choir Director Brenda Lancaster are the lead singers. Gospel Choir Accompanist Ralph Monroe plays piano and keyboard. Audio/Visual Coordinator Jay Hollinger shot and edited the video.

“We wanted this project to reach beyond Lewis and Clark Community College,” Lancaster said. “It was a labor of love for the entire community. Our musicians and singers aren’t just students and educators, they’re members of our community. It’s about sharing positivity beyond the walls of campus and letting everyone out there know how much we care about them. We want to bring positivity and joy to all through the work of the talented people we have here. Everything we do academically comes from the heart, and the message the music delivers crosses all boundaries.”

Chapman said the response throughout campus from volunteers wanting to assist her class in the project was overwhelming, and symbolic of the lesson’s message.

“We’re stronger when we come together,” she said. “Underneath us all is a heartbeat, just like the little hearts that were drawn across campus and the heartbeat of the music.”

Watch the video on L&C’s YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/zUAgO0qdZWU.

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The Science of Happiness at L&C

A multi-disciplinary course, The Science of Happiness will not make you automatically happy, but it will provide you with some of the research-based methods that could improve your happiness. It is a class that looks at happiness through the lens of psychology, economics, geography and sociology and examines what researchers have learned about this seemingly ethereal concept.

“We talk a lot about both sadness and happiness, but the idea is that there are things you can do on a daily or weekly basis that will help you cope,” Chapman said. “The class will help you connect. It will help you feel better. It also teaches you to find the research behind the magazine articles. Also, the class is a lot of fun, with active discussions and homework that asks you to apply what you learned in class to your own life.”

But the class isn’t a self-help seminar or an overly dense or dry examination of the topic either, according to student Ethan Metcalf.

“What I found was that the class definitely has plenty of good, evidenced-backed science, but at the same time the class balances that out, because we apply the learning and it helps make our lives better," he said. “People are up to their own devices to discover how to find happiness and that leads to a lot of confusion. This class makes it really clear in that it helps us see what happiness is and how it can be achieved.”

Science of Happiness student Jerika Bonine-Burton says the class has given her a new appreciation for making others happy.

“I think that it is a class that is liberating to my feelings of awe and understanding myself and what happiness really means to me,” she said. “It has helped me feel excited about caring for other people and bringing them joy. I find this class to be inspirational, sometimes tear-jerking, and it has opened my eyes to what happiness means to me, which is sharing and giving to other people in the most joyous way possible.”

Currently, the class’ Happiness Habit Challenge Calendar project is underway. Each morning, a new activity is posted to the college’s Facebook page that can help improve a person’s happiness. The activities on the calendar include student-made videos and links to more information from the Greater Good Science Center at Berkeley.

This class is available to all students, and it serves as a social science transfer-level, general education course. Students interested in enrolling can talk to their advisor or contact Chapman at cchapman@lc.edu.

A similar course will be available as an EDTR offering for faculty and staff beginning Spring 2021. Any faculty or staff interested should contact Chapman.

For more information on the L&C Music Department and its offerings, contact Department Coordinator Louis Michael at lmichael@lc.com. For information on the L&C Gospel Choir, contact Brenda Lancaster at blancaster@lc.edu.

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