Sky Campus Happiness Program Comes to Fordham


The mission of the program is to boost the “meditation, breathwork, emotional intelligence, social connection, and service leadership” to all members of campus communities, students and staff. (Courtesy of Instagram)

This semester, the Sky Campus Happiness program came to Fordham University. Sky Campus Happiness is a well-being program aimed at supporting college and university students. The program was designed by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and is offered by the International Association for Human Values and the Art of Living Foundation. The mission of the program is to boost the “meditation, breathwork, emotional intelligence, social connection, and service leadership” to all members of campus communities, students and staff. The organization has over 500 certified SKY teachers who work to bring the program to colleges and universities, with customized plans made to fit the needs of each one. The main organizers of this new offering were the Director for Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS), Jeffrey Ng, PsyD, Associate Clinical Professor David Marcotte, Ph.D., from the psychology department and Michael Pirson, MS, Chair for Leading People and Organizations Area. Ng, explained that “Sky” refers to the Sudarshan Kriya Yoga meditation program that was taught at the programming. The SKY Breath Meditation was shown to be the most effective program for student mental health by recent research studies evaluated at Yale University, explained by Manuj Goyal, a SKY facilitator working with Fordham.

The Yale University study showed that the students showed improvement across six categories: depression, stress, mental health, mindfulness, positive effect and social connectedness. The research supported that bringing SKY programming to campuses is a good way to improve student mental health proactively without putting a financial strain on the university.

Additional studies done at Harvard University also found the program to help support better sleep and increase resilience against stress. Fordham introduced the Sky Campus Happiness Program this semester with two workshops and a retreat. Both the workshops and the retreat were offered at no cost to participants. The retreat was held over the course of three days, taking place from April 21-23 on the Rose Hill campus. The activities took place in three-hour long sessions each day during which participants learned well-being and resilience tools and worked with facilitators with 1,000 hours’ worth of training, according to Goyal. Ng explained that the primary goal of the retreat was “to equip our students with a specific set of skills (and a sense of community) that have been empirically demonstrated to be effective in enhancing resiliency, flourishing, mental health, and well-being.”

The Sky Campus Happiness program is not the only retreat offered to students at Fordham University. Another notable one is held by Campus Ministry among others. However, the university introduced SKY as an attempt to offer a new alternative to the methods of mental health support and management they have offered before. With the high result rates that SKY yields, the hope is that the university will be able to help students where other techniques perhaps haven’t worked.

Sky Campus Happiness has held their program at numerous colleges and universities throughout the country and has been met with great success, earning it its high regard. In order to organize the Sky Campus Happiness workshops and retreat, CPS collaborated with the Psychology Department and the Leading People and Organizations Area in the Gabelli School of Business.