Lawrence puts on LUgge events during winter months

The Lawrence University SEAL Office along with various faculty and staff hosted the first ever LUgge (loog-uh) event, hot chocolate outside the Warch Campus Center, on Jan. 13, beginning what its founders hope to be a longtime tradition for Lawrence’s students. 

The word LUgge is derived from the Danish and Norwegian word ‘Hygge’ (hoo-guh), the concept of which, according to Special Assistant to the President Garrett Singer, means finding coziness and togetherness even in the winter months.  

The idea for LUgge goes back to a Spring Break study abroad trip to Denmark, Assistant Professor of Psychology Amanda Draheim said. 

“Denmark and Scandinavian countries are some of the darkest, coldest, places for long periods of the year, and also known for being some of the happiest countries in the world,” said Draheim. “One of the things we learned about while we were there was Hygge.”  

Hygge is a cultural practice of Denmark associated with a mood of coziness and feelings of wellness and contentment. According to Draheim, this is manifested in a strong work-life balance, 4-day work weeks and when one is done, truly separating from work and putting away one’s phone. The warmth and social support involved in the practice is important to Draheim, who since traveling to Denmark has focused on teaching recovery and self-sustainment in her classes.  

LUgge’s purpose is described as for well-being and happiness beyond the academic rigor and activity related to what is known as the ‘Lawrence busy.’ Draheim hopes to allow for a cultural shift away from the Lawrence busy and towards balance and happiness. 

“I think I heard our [Senior] Vice President for Development [Calvin Husmann] describe it best,” said Singer. “‘Winter happens in Wisconsin significantly’ and so LUgge came out of some conversations between Cal… and Amanda Draheim… about the Danish concept of Hygge… Danes are consistently rated some of the happiest people in the world so we thought we’d bring a little of that to Wisconsin.”