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Survey Measures Happy Valley's Happiness

by and on April 26, 2014 7:55 AM

Just how happy is Happy Valley?

That's what a group of Penn State public relations students tried to find out. In February, students conducted a telephone survey of 412 Centre County residents.

“We really wanted to look at happiness in Happy Valley,” says Penn State senior Chelsea Amaral. “We wanted to conduct a survey and we really just used a phone book. We asked about 12 questions that measured their happiness. We asked how they felt at the present moment, how they felt about life in general and how they felt about Centre County as a place to live.”

As it turns out, Centre County residents are generally pretty happy. On a scale of 1 to 10, the survey showed the following results:

  • How happy they feel right now — 7.5.
  • How satisfied they are with their life in general — 7.9
  • How satisfied they are with Centre County as a place to live — 7.8

“It was really above average,” Amaral says. “Overall, Centre County is a fairly happy county.”

According to Amaral, a closer examination about happiness found that residents were most happy with the physical setting of Centre County, followed by (in order of satisfaction) their relationship with their neighbors, their health, their current work life, their time management, their personal finances, the overall effectiveness of the local police, their involvement in the community, the availability of affordable housing and the overall effectiveness with the local government.

“We based our survey on previous research that we'd done. Centre County was one of the counties in the country that hadn't had this survey done. We really just wanted to see how Centre County as whole could improve their happiness,” Amaral says.

To share the results of the survey, celebrate happiness and teach residents ways to improve their happiness, the students are putting together a free event from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 26 at Tudek Park in State College.

“We're going to have lots of organizations and businesses there,” Amaral explains. “We're trying to get music … there's going to be free food and bottled water. There will be fun things for kids. We just wanted to invite the community to this free event and show them ways to improve their happiness.”

Amaral says that students from the public relations class will be divided into groups to focus on different elements of the afternoon. Her group, for example, is focusing on health and wellness, so she's arranged to have yoga instructors come and spend time with attendees.

There will also be several financial institutions at the event. Experts will show residents how to get the most out of their money, including developing and sticking with a budget.

“They'll help with personal finances so people can feel better about that,” Amaral explained.

If your downfall is organization, there will someone to help with that, too.

“We'll have some people there who specialize in organizing. Life is hectic. Experts will show you how to get organized,” Amaral says.

The event at Tudek Park will be held rain or shine.

“It's been so much fun. How could you not be happy about making other people happy,” she says with a laugh. “We all worked really well together. We came up with the idea, did the research and created the survey. Since we're all seniors, it was really great to put everything we've learned for four years together and make a big campaign out of it. I'm really happy with it.”



WHO: Penn State public relations students

WHAT: “Happy in Happy Valley” event; meant to celebrate and improve happiness

WHEN: 1 to 3 p.m., Saturday, April 26

WHERE: Tudek Park, State College

COST: Free

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This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Chris Morelli is the managing editor of The Centre County Gazette.
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