Vivek Goel

For individuals and communities, happier means healthier

A message from the President and Vice-Chancellor

In tumultuous times, finding happiness in our work and personal lives can be difficult. Society is in the midst of major challenges from health and economic inequalities to climate change and political polarization. While happiness is widely recognized as a fundamental human goal, not everyone is able to discover it in their lives.   

Those of us fortunate to maintain a connection to the University of Waterloo benefit from exposure to new ideas and the enthusiasm of our community in striving to make the world a better place. In this issue of Waterloo Magazine, we explore how our community is creating happiness and a sense of well-being.  

As our institution works toward our Waterloo at 100 goals to help build a better future for humanity and our planet, we also create more opportunities for happiness and well-being in our communities.   

In my research, I have sought to understand the connection between life satisfaction and health outcomes. In longitudinal studies, my colleagues and I found that social belonging and increased life satisfaction are consistently associated with better health outcomes — happier individuals and communities are healthier individuals and communities. Across our faculties, researchers are investigating ways to answer similar questions. Hopefully, a better understanding of happiness helps us all lead healthier and more satisfying lives.

Who we are as an institution starts with our people —our alumni, students, staff, faculty and partners. As Waterloo’s history attests, when we listen, collaborate and act, we achieve great things. Together, we won’t stop seeking ways to create a happier and healthier world.  

Vivek Goel, CM  
President and Vice-Chancellor 


Zain Bandali with book

Mehndi Boy: The courage to be your true self →

Zain Bandali publishes an early-reader chapter book that explores gender norms and sense of belonging in a community

Illustrated people overlaying building

The science of happiness →

First-year students hone more than their research skills by exploring what it means to be happy