The spirit of gratitude and giving with Sahana Mukherjee and Gretchen Natter P’15

In Episode 17, President Bob Iuliano is joined by two members of the Gettysburg College community: Psychology Prof. Sahana Mukherjee and Gretchen Natter P’15, assistant dean of College Life and executive director of the Center for Public Service. They discuss the impact of gratitude on our health, the variability in how people express gratitude, and how we at Gettysburg College foster a culture that recognizes the significance of giving back to the community and working toward the greater good.

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Shownotes

Stole of gratitude with written letters underneath

In Episode 17, President Bob Iuliano is joined by two members of the Gettysburg College community: Psychology Prof. Sahana Mukherjee and Gretchen Natter P’15, assistant dean of College Life and executive director of the Center for Public Service. Together, they discuss the impact of gratitude on our health, the variability in how people express gratitude, and how we at Gettysburg College foster a culture that recognizes the significance of giving back to the community and working toward the greater good.

The episode begins with Mukherjee unpacking what role gratitude plays in our lives and how it affects our emotional and physical wellbeing. In doing so, she references psychological research which has shown that those with a stronger orientation toward gratitude tend to report higher life satisfaction and greater levels of optimism, among various other health benefits. Later on in the episode, Mukherjee explains how expressions of gratitude can vary across cultures.

Continuing the conversation, Natter connects these concepts of gratitude that Mukherjee shared to the Gettysburg College community. She puts into words the short-term and long-term goals of the College’s Center for Public Service and how students, faculty, and staff engage with the Center in pursuit of community change—from helping with soup kitchens and english as a second language classes, to participating in immersion projects across the world.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has made hands-on giving a challenge, Natter and Mukherjee share some creative ways in which individuals can give thanks and give back this holiday season. Natter suggests identifying an area of immediate need that means something to you and to your loved ones, and contacting those agencies to see if they have ways to engage virtually, or have immediate needs for donations. Mukherjee encourages mindfulness—remembering to see the good in our lives and going out of our way to say “Thank you.”

The episode concludes with an anecdotal “Slice of Life” told from the president’s perspective. Iuliano uses this moment to reflect on what he’s grateful for this holiday season. He’s grateful not only for what our students, faculty, and staff bring to the Gettysburg College community but also for his membership in such a resilient and good-willed community.

Guests featured in this episode

  • Sahana Mukherjee, associate professor of psychology at Gettysburg College, whose research interests lie in topics of social justice, with a specific focus on the role of cultural tools in the reproduction of privilege and disadvantage.
  • Gretchen Natter P’15, assistant dean of College Life and executive director of the Center for Public Service at Gettysburg College.