The University of Richmond is embracing Danish culture Nov. 13-17 in celebration of International Education Week. UR is incorporating “hygge,” the Danish concept of finding pleasure in small things. The Ambassador of Denmark to the United States, Lars Gert Lose, will visit Richmond for the first time on Nov. 15 to participate in campus events.

The Danes have long been recognized as one of the happiest people on the planet, all while being leaders in innovation and business around the globe.

“The UR community is fundamentally international in 2017, the 30th anniversary of our global engagement,” said Martha Merritt, dean of International Education. “We thought it would be fitting to learn something about another place in a deep and meaningful way. You don’t have to get on a plane and travel to another country.”

The Institute of International Education ranks the University of Richmond second among leading baccalaureate institutions for the total number of students who study abroad. Students can choose among 80 semester or year-long programs that take them to nearly 70 countries.

The theme for this campus-wide initiative grew from the university’s long-standing relationship with the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS) and the Copenhagen Business School. Since 1998, more than 300 students have studied in Denmark and more than 130 Danes have studied in Richmond.

“Going Danish” also means teaching Danish culture, history and current events in the classroom. Numerous faculty members have committed to incorporating such themes in their lectures, with the assistance of faculty from DIS.

Luminaries will light the way for a scenic cross-campus walk on Nov. 15, which is open to the community and is geared toward all ages. Along the walk, multiple pop-up stations will enable participants to experience Legos, Danish Christmas music and traditions, Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales, interpretations of hygge (including a knitting circle), Legos and Danish-inspired travel. The walk ends at the campus dining center where dinner will feature family recipes of current exchange students from Denmark. See the dining hall website for special dinner rates.

“Hygge is appealing for college campuses today because so many people who work in academia feel stressed and overwhelmed,” Merritt said. “Hygge reminds us to enjoy the small pleasures that can get lost without giving them their due. Thinking Danishly means walking across campus and listening to the leaves rustle instead of rushing to our next appointment.”

Follow UR on Twitter and Instagram @urichmond and engage with the Danish initiative by using #URGoesDanish.

The full slate of events includes:
Sock Walk & Danish Breakfast
Monday, Nov .13
10-11:30 a.m.
Campus members are encouraged to wear colorful socks and join UR President Ronald A. Crutcher and Provost Jeffrey Legro on a walk across campus to hear from UR students currently studying in Copenhagen and Danish students currently residing in Richmond. 

Sus-DANE-ability Challenge
Nov. 13 – Nov. 17
To help the community live Danishly, this one-week challenge encourages people to adopt behaviors that have a positive personal and environmental impact. Each action earns points and the three competitors with the highest number of points will win Denmark-inspired prizes. Share experiences online by using #URGoesDanish. 

Discussion: "Happiness and Business in Denmark"
Tuesday, Nov. 14
12-1:15 p.m., International Center Commons
Interview with Dr. Søren Bregenholt, corporate vice president of the Danish company Novo Nordisk, which is ranked as one of the the world’s most sustainable and best companies to work for. 

Candle-lit Campus Walk
Wednesday, Nov. 15
5-7 p.m.
Danish Ambassador Lars Gert Lose and others will participate in a campus walk featuring pop-up stations incorporating Danish culture, innovation, and influence. The public is invited to the walk and a Danish dinner in the Heilman Dining Center, featuring family recipes of current exchange students from Denmark. See the dining hall website for special dinner rates.

Film: “The Infinite Happiness”
Friday, Nov. 17
7-9:30 p.m., Robins School of Business, Ukrop Auditorium
This film features the giant “8 House,” a contemporary housing development in Copenhagen considered to be a new model of success in Denmark. The filmmakers explore the social experiment and the capability of architectural design to provide collective happiness.

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Dean and Carole M. Weinstein Chair of International Education