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Opinion: How social distancing will help us find happiness

By Greg Woodman
April 03. 2020 Centre Daily Times

Twenty years ago, I bought a company on the premise that strong personal connections and lasting friendships lead to happiness. If you’re struggling with social distancing, I’m here to tell you that you’ll be better for it if you do one thing: stay connected to other people.

In 2000, I read Robert Putnam’s groundbreaking “Bowling Alone,” which argued that Americans had become disconnected from the people in our lives. Over 25 years of research, he found that people belonged to fewer organizations, knew fewer neighbors, met with friends less frequently, and even socialized with family less often than previous generations.

He called it loss of social capital. Social capital carries value: trust and cooperation, along with tangible health and happiness markers. In fact, Putnam said that participating in one group cuts your odds of dying in the next year in half.

Soon after reading “Bowling Alone,” I purchased a small State College company, Stewart Howe Alumni Services, which I renamed Affinity Connection. Since then, we’ve been creating communications in the form of emails, newsletters and appeals for support for organizations like State College Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, fire companies and hundreds of alumni organizations at Penn State and across the country.

These groups enjoy strong, consistent support from dedicated donors. But since COVID-19, those donors and many new ones are doubling down: giving more, getting involved as volunteers and reaching out to fellow alumni to check on their well-being.

Read more: Opinion: How social distancing will help us find happiness

History of Gamma Upsilon Chapter - Delta Tau Delta at Miami University

In the fall of 1911 seventeen men under the leadership of C. Stuart Clarke’14 formed a local fraternity called Omega Psi Rho. The fraternity existed sub rosa until a house was rented, furnished and made ready for occupancy. There was little thought of nationalization at first and only the binding together of a group of men with real fraternity spirit and ideals.

Read more: History of Gamma Upsilon Chapter - Delta Tau Delta at Miami University

Stuck at Home and Self-Isolating? Gamma Upsilon Has an Assignement or You

It's time to (metaphorically) get out there and create some connections...

If you’re sitting at home right now, quarantined and following your local stay-at-home orders, and the most exciting parts of your day have been breakfast, walking the dog and watching sitcom reruns on television, then you may feel just a twinge of guilt when you see how some are using their newfound free time.

Read more: Stuck at Home and Self-Isolating? Gamma Upsilon Has an Assignement or You