How to Be Happy: Leisure, Festivity, Art, and Contemplation

The Collegium Institute
June 26-28, 2023

High school students have never been busier. Early morning wake up, classes from 8am to 3pm, sports practice after that, music lessons, games on the weekend, extracurricular activities, college applications–seemingly every minute of every day in the life of a high school student conspires against relaxed, unstructured, unscheduled free time. Even during those rare moments of reprieve, more often than not the temptations of Netflix and YouTube, Instagram and Tik Tok, all just a touch or a click away, prove too enticing to resist. Is there no more to life than the ceaseless struggle to do well in high school, to get into a good college, to get a good job, to make money and gain prestige, all punctuated by the fleeting pleasures of online content consumption?

Happiness is the first and foremost question of the classical tradition of philosophy. How have Catholic thinkers engaged with that tradition and developed a robust answer for life? Join the Collegium Institute’s Young Catholic Leaders Initiative for a three day summer seminar on How to Be Happy: Leisure, Festivity, Culture, and Contemplation in University City from June 26 to June 28 as we explore this question through seminars and panel discussions, music and exhibits, communal service and feasting. Our guides in the quest for happiness include Plato and Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas, Annie Dillard and Josef Pieper.

Taking the seminal text Leisure: The Basis of Culture  as our starting point, we will seek to establish a proper conception of work balanced by leisure as both concept and practice. We will then consider how art, the greatest fruit of leisure, moves us from reflection on the things of this world to the next by means of beauty. Lastly, we will focus on the final end of human beings, the purpose of life, namely happiness and contemplation in communion with God.

Priority application deadline: Monday, April 24th.