Pursuing the Examined Life Together
Recent scholarship demonstrates that undergraduates’ personal well-being is associated with meaningful conversations with others. The happiest undergraduates “spent about 25% less time alone” and “70% more time talking,” and engaged in “roughly one-third as much small talk” and “twice as many substantive conversations.” The researchers conclude that “the happy life is social rather than solitary, and conversationally deep rather than superficial… People find their lives more worth living when… examined together” (Mehl et al. 2010).
As a practical testing ground for students to enact the power of deeper conversation and the values of the liberal arts, the McKelvy Program embodies key elements of the “distinctive and dynamic learning environment” described in the Plan for Lafayette, including:
- Diversity: Scholars come from all corners of the College to live and learn together, welcoming difference and disagreement as essential elements of deep engagement and multidisciplinary learning.
- Creativity: Scholars embrace the creative process as critical to the human experience, participating in producing, enjoying, and reflecting on visual and performing arts events throughout the year.
- Sustainability: As it nears its 125th anniversary, the House is a model of the enduring value of historic craftsmanship and fine architecture. The College, current and former Scholars, and friends of McKelvy are learning together as they collaborate to restore and renovate the House for an environmentally sustainable, historically appropriate, and aesthetically vibrant next 125 years.
- Community: Over the last half-century, the McKelvy Program has been a model for building a multi-generational community, embracing the lifelong connections between Faculty Advisors and Scholars, current and former residents, and friends and neighbors at Lafayette and on College Hill.
This site provides information on life at McKelvy, including current Scholars and McKelvy alums, House activities and projects, and information about the program and the history of the House. Please browse this site to find out more about McKelvy, to plan a visit, or to contact community members.