0306 – Buddha as a college admissions officer

My friend sent me this article the other day, and I just loved it. Very amusing yet thoughtful read. I’m pasting it here after the jump.

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0280 – College: Why do cooler things happen at night?

This is another CGI U-inspired post. Ashifi Gogo, CEO and founder of Sproxil, was on one of the panels at CGI U this past weekend. He is Dartmouth’s first-ever Ph.D. Innovation Fellow. I just checked out the PhD program, and its sounds pretty cool! Ashifi told us that the program started because the administration realized that students had cooler things going on at night.

That left me thinking.

Learning should be fun, right? To me, education inside the classroom should be as fun as the stuff outside the classroom. Stuff we do during the day should be cool and exciting and energetic and different and fun. Our education system (I speak for my experience in engineering) has been largely reduced to textbook-based transfer of knowledge, increasingly theoretical and routine. While those textbook stuff is necessary, there is a lot to be said about engineers’ roles in social change. The College of Engineering at the University of Michigan, where I’m currently studying, has really been speaking up a lot about engineers working on social change. There is a disconnect between what the College is promoting–the social impact of engineers–and what is being taught. Because most of what we’re learning in the classroom doesn’t help us with creating social impact. Something’s gotta give.

We shouldn’t have cooler things to do at night in college. Learning and playing should be integrated in order to nurture our creativity. Textbook knowledge needs to translate to practical innovation. Our classroom really needs to be the world, not a tiny space.

Times are changing. The education system must adapt with the dynamism and challenges of the 21st century.

0274 – University Towns Score High in Well-Being

Gallup just released this a week ago. University Towns Score High in Well-Being:

Good to see good ol’ Ann Arbor high up on that list. In addition, Ann Arbor tops the list for life evaluation:

Residents of Ann Arbor rate their current lives and their lives in five years the best on a ladder scale with steps numbered from 0 to 10 based on the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale, giving the city the highest Life Evaluation Index score in the nation. Honolulu again led the nation with the best Emotional Health Index score, while Fort Collins, Colo., displaced a fellow Colorado city, Boulder, with the highest Physical Health Index score in the nation. Prescott, Ariz., had the highest Work Environment Index score, and residents living in Barnstable Town, Mass., had the highest Healthy Behaviors Index score. Appleton, Wis., which did not have a sufficient number of respondents to be reported in previous years, led the nation in residents with the best access to basic necessities.

If you’re intrigued, Gallup also has a neat tool that you can use to compare well-being across different regions.

Now, this is an interesting stat. Ann Arborites in general have indeed been giving off happy vibes. Incidentally, it’s also the greatest city for singles! So we must be doing something right here. Although I hope I won’t have to be in Ann Arbor for this reason. Please, God, send me someone soon.

Anyway, I wish I can delve deeper into this stuff, but unfortunately Gallup doesn’t release complete results of its surveys. From initial look, it seems like we do have the conditions of a great city – somewhat sheltered economy, vibrant job market, healthy options (e.g. local or organic food, public transportation, biking, etc).  That’s where I’m going to plug the Happiness Initiative again. It is aimed to gather comprehensive information of how you feel about your life and the typical conditions that affect happiness. I’m really excited to see what we can find out! Help this boy out and take the survey!