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Wendt Center Update

Tuesday, December 3, 2013  
Posted by: Kari Lammer
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Wendt Character Scholars Lead Gratitude Week 

Annalee Ward
Director of the Wendt Center

Overwhelmed by a deep sense of appreciation.  Aware of our dependence on God.  Profoundly awed.  What does gratitude mean to you?  

During the week of November 11, the University of Dubuque Wendt Character Scholars celebrated Gratitude Week providing opportunities for others on campus to join them in thanking people who can often be overlooked.   

The Scholars began this tradition a few years ago and continue to find it meaningful.  Giving thanks can be a humbling experience and can significantly impact a person’s life.  When we take a few moments to reflect on God’s grace in our lives, we can’t help but be grateful.  That these students find so much joy in hosting Gratitude Week encourages all of us! 

Whether it was writing a giant "citation” of gratitude issued to Security staff and signed by students from all over campus, or providing breakfast and notes to maintenance staff, or bringing treats and decorating the Academic Success Center, or serving Food service staff with dessert and thank you notes, or hosting a social for International students, Wendt Scholars expressed their gratitude across campus.   

Scholars themselves were challenged to keep a Gratitude Journal.  Below are a few of their reflections on that practice. 

"The gratitude journal has been a real gift.  The discipline of focusing daily on the concrete things for which I am thankful makes me humble, joyful and more content.  Our culture drives us to consume, which requires us to be constantly aware of what we DO NOT have.  I love the counter-cultural posture of being constantly aware of how much we DO have.”  Suzanne Vogel 

"By keeping a gratitude journal I've been able to reflect on what I'm grateful for. In doing so I've been able to have a more optimistic outlook towards the things I'm doing. I've been generally in a better mood and less stressed. I found things I'm grateful for that I didn't necessarily think about before.” Tyler Dobratz 

"I found myself really reflecting on how blessed I am, and how thankful I am for that. Normally, without reflecting, I could just go to bed in whatever mood or state the last hours of the evening left me (often stressed about school). But when I took the time I noticed and reflected on the tiny things that might have slipped by, and by doing soon - I was happier.”   Brittany Strombaugh 

"This deliberate practice of gratitude affected me in two main ways: for the first time in my life, I counted my blessing during a day instead of my sorrows or misfortunes. Secondly, every day I found something new to be grateful for.”   Jonathon Hazelwonder 

Students’ experiences confirmed what Social Science research on happiness has been finding.  Researchers argue that writing just a short daily gratitude list can make people happier, more energetic, more hopeful, healthier, and better able to sleep (Emmons).  

So what are you waiting for?  As scripture reminds us, "Be thankful.”  And, "give thanks to God for he is good.”  You’ll be glad you did! 

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