St. Lawrence provides students with the opportunity to experience off campus study. More than 60 percent of St. Lawrence students study off campus during their time at SLU. This past fall, I had the incredible opportunity to study abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. My time spent studying and traveling was one of individual growth, cultural insight, and memorable adventures. There is something special about this small Scandinavian country that was voted the world’s happiest nation in 2013. The reasons why Denmark consistently ranks among the happiest nations lie in the people, culture, history, tradition, and landscape. Looking back on my semester as a Dane, if I had to choose one world to describe my experience, it would be “hygge”.
Hygge (pronounced “HUE-gah”) is a Danish concept that cannot be directly translated to English using a single word. Hygge represents a feeling of “cosiness” and contentment when one is immersed in a happy atmosphere. It involves feelings of comfort, surrounded by good vibes, and the ability to take time to enjoy life’s pleasures and the people in it. My host mother, Marie, who I was so fortunate to have formed a lifelong relationship with, first introduced hygge to me. Marie and I would enjoy delicious meals together as we ate and chatted for hours over a candlelit dinner. In my mind, Danish hygge can best be depicted by a group of close friends and family relaxing on couches and surrounded by the calm glisten of an evening fire in the fireplace. The warm glow of candles surround them and they are comforted by love and friendship and fueled by the warm tea and coffee in their hands. However, Danish hygge embodies so much more than this one scene. Hygge is a part of the Danish lifestyle. As a major consumer of candles, nearly every restaurant and home in Denmark will have them, so it’s no wonder Danes are so hyggeligt.
While reflecting on my hygge experiences in Denmark I couldn’t help but think that St. Lawrence radiates similar feelings of comfort and happiness within our community; something I’d like to proclaim as SLUgge. SLUgge is universal, as it does not apply to one type of Laurentian. SLUgee is represented in the brilliant minds of the dedicated tutors and students at the Peterson Quantitative Resource Center. It is seen in the determined SLU athlete putting in hours of relentless work in order to reach success as a team. It is felt in the hearts of the student volunteers who participate in programs like SLU buddies and Club SLU at Canton’s local elementary and middle schools. SLUgge is seen in the eyes of the hard-working student spending countless hours studying in Owen D. Young Library, and it is felt in the warm embrace of a fellow Laurentian.
SLUgge is the incredible bond and sense of community among peers, professors, coaches, and staff that St. Lawrence demonstrates. The presence of our SLUgge community must be distinct, because how else would we get through the winter months in the North Country?