Evergreen Class to Show Student-Produced Videos

March 1, 2004

Evergreen Class to Show Student-Produced Videos
Positive Psychology Students Invite Public to Viewing

Wed., March 10, 2004
Longhouse Education and Cultural Center
6:30-9 p.m.
7 p.m., talk by Dr. Jonathon Brown
Free and open to the public. Campus parking $1.25

The emerging topic of positive psychology is the focus of an evening of information at The Evergreen State College. Students in the Positive Psychology program invite members of the community to view videos they have created and to hear remarks by noted psychologist Jonathon Brown, Ph.D. The event takes place on Wednesday, March 10 in the college's Longhouse from 6:30 to 9 p.m., and is free and open to the public. Campus parking is $1.25.

"Positive experience, character and institutions have too often been left out of the scope of psychology," says Evergreen instructor Mark Hurst, a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Olympia. "While dysfunction and mental illness are still a focus of much of psychology, there is a important movement among some in the field to address the 'social science' of happiness." Hurst's program is designed to assist students in understanding and building the elements of "positivity" in their own lives. Those elements include assessing the signature strengths such as courage, curiosity, kindness, forgiveness, empathy and creativity.

Drawing from the works of psychologists such as Martin Seligman, Julie Norem and C.R. Snyder, Hurst interlaces the academic with the practical by promoting real-world positive experiences. "Students are engaging in 'gratitude visits,' forgiveness exercises, 'full life' planning, philanthropic activities and building 'resilience toolboxes' for the stressors they confront in life," Hurst says. "Just six weeks into the program, they were already writing about the remarkable changes they had experienced in their day-to-day lives."

Student groups will show videos that exemplify aspects of core virtues and signature strengths, as well as overall life satisfaction and happiness.

Keynote speaker Jonathon D. Brown is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Washington. He has published two books and numerous articles, and received a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation. His 1988 paper with Shelley Taylor, "Illusion and Well-Being: A Social Psychological Perspective on Mental Health" was one of the most influential articles in the field of psychology during the 1990s, and his more recent text, "The Self," presents a comprehensive yet accessible review of the nature of self-concept, self-esteem, and self-regulation of behavior.  

Contact: Kate Lykins Brown, (360) 867-5213
Dr. Mark Hurst, (360) 867-6624