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What makes Brown students so happy?

Brown University, Main Green, Sayles and Friedman Halls
Photo: “2021 Brown University, Main Green, Sayles and Friedman Halls” by Beyond My Ken, licensed under CC 4.0.

By Seth Peiris

“I like the grass. The grass at Brown is top-tier. It's unnaturally nice, but I’m a fan of it.”

According to the Brown Opinion Project and Brown Daily Herald’s joint October 2022 poll, a vast majority of Brown undergraduates are generally happy: 83.27% of respondents said that they were at least “somewhat happy.” But being a college student is not always easy. If you’re ever in need of a pick-me-up, here’s what put a smile on the faces of seven respondents to the poll.

The weather

One sophomore who took the poll attributed his happiness to the weather: “Now it's warm, the sun's shining (and) the leaves are starting to change color,” they said. “I'll be happy until the next time it starts pouring rain." (That meant they were happy for just one more day.)


Two first-years who took the poll were enthusiastic about their club activities.

“I went white-water rafting with the (Brown) Outing Club in New Hampshire,” one said. “It was awesome.” The other praised the Figure Skating Club. “It’s so fun,” they said, citing the Learn to Skate program taught by senior members of the club including Vincent Zhou, an Olympian and a student at Brown.

Free things

Perhaps unsurprisingly, some Brown students associate happiness with freebies. As one sophomore who took the poll put it: “The first thing that comes to my mind is that Brown students get really happy when free things are offered to them.” Another sophomore who took the poll agreed: "A lot of times when you walk by the Main Green and… [UCS] is handing out stuff, it makes you feel happy.”

Grade inflation

When asked about grade inflation at Brown — another question on the October 2022 poll — one sophomore perked up. That’s the one thing keeping me sane right now.” According to the poll, a similar sentiment was popular among other undergraduates.

BOP, and the grass

After an intense period of thinking, one senior couldn’t pick between two of their favorite things. They began, “One thing that makes me happy here is… the poll.” They then pivoted to their appreciation for the University’s turf. “I like the grass. The grass at Brown is top-tier. It's unnaturally nice, but I’m a fan of it.”

The people

Perhaps confusing BOP’s pollsters for prospective students, one sophomore leaned into a reason that easily could have come from an admissions pamphlet: “The people. The other students make me the happiest.”

Note: All quoted poll-takers remain anonymous to maintain the integrity of Brown Opinion Project surveys. Brown Opinion Project conducted its October 2022 poll from October 11-23, collecting 1091 total responses from Brown undergraduate students. The margin of error is 3.02% with 95% confidence.


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