UW-Rock County to study 'Affluenza'

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Catherine W. Idzerda
September 20, 2008
— It’s a dangerous disease, likely to lead to unhappiness, a sense of spiritual emptiness, the destruction of family units and an inappropriate sense of entitlement.

Other side effects of this contagious illness include obesity, money problems and the wholesale destruction of the planet.

The disease? Affluenza.

Americans have more stuff, use more resources, are more in debt and are saving less than ever before, but they are not happier. That’s what affluenza does to people.

This year, UW-Rock County will hold a campuswide reading of “Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic” by John de Graaf, David Wann and Thomas Naylor.

Along with the campuswide read, the college will offer programs to help people live more simply and thoughtfully, said Kristine Fillhouser, coordinator for Project AHEAD, a program that helps returning adult students succeed in college.

“Top Ten Money Mistakes” is part of a lineup of events and speakers that will address smart buying, composting, recycling, getting active on a budget, buying local, fair trade, reducing consumption and mental health.

In keeping with the theme, experts will come from the area.

“There are so many things that are offered in our own community,” Fillhouser said. “We didn’t want to bring in somebody from far away to tell us what’s going here.”

Upcoming events include:

-- Noon Thursday, Oct. 9: UW Extension horticulture educator Mike Maddox will talk about the benefits and how-tos of composting.

-- 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22: Recycle fair. Participants can bring those hard-to-recycle items to a recycling shop sponsored by the campus GREEN Scene group and Engaging Students in the First Year Committee.

-- Noon Thursday, Nov. 6: Swap meet. Students, staff, faculty and community members can turn their trash into treasure. They bring in unwanted but usable items and get coupons for each that will allow them to select a different item.

-- Noon Tuesday, Nov. 18: “Buying Food and Getting Active on a Budget.” UW Extension nutrition agent Mary Krisco will give money-saving tips for eating and living well.

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