The Interassociation Wellbeing Definition is one outcome of the Health and Wellbeing in Higher Education: A Commitment to Student Success’ research summits, subsequent conference presentations and feedback sessions, and the dedicated work of volunteers across the Commitment’s signatory associations.

In our collective pursuit to co-create cultures of integrated wellbeing on campuses worldwide, we want to ensure we are building from a shared understanding and foundation. Since there was not an existing consistent definition for “wellbeing”—especially as it applies to higher education—the members of our organizations asked that one be created. This definition, and its supplementary material, is meant to be foundational; we hope a shared understanding can be a stepping stone to systemic change. This document is, of course, not exhaustive.

NIRSA is excited to share that the Interassociation Wellbeing Definition is now available as a downloadable PDF! Two further pieces of supplementary material are currently being developed based on member feedback. Those materials will further exemplify community wellbeing as well as offer a visual element that provides a broad, high-level look at the interplay between wellbeing, wellness, and health. Those items will be added to this page as they become available.

Wellbeing definition included in international standard

The FISU Healthy Campus Standard—which NIRSA was asked to contribute to as a member of a team of international experts—was released in mid-May. That standard cites this definition of wellbeing in their standard.

The FISU website further explains:

Proposed and developed by the International University Sports Federation, the FISU Healthy Campus programme aims to enhance all aspects of well-being for students and the campus community at large. Looking to reverse the well-established trend of young adults compromising their health during their academic careers, the initiative is already having a positive impact on the lives and lifestyles of university students around the world.

The programme holds steadfast to the belief that universities should be an enabling environment, a gateway encouraging its attendees to practice a healthy and sustainable lifestyle where access and opportunity in the areas of physical activity, health and nutrition are a daily part of campus life.

Since FISU’s founding in 1949, the Federation has been a key driver to expand the role and reach of university sports worldwide. Best known for its sporting and educational events, the Healthy Campus programme helps expand FISU’s social responsibility to reach a larger number of students, schools, and university employees.


  • For more information, contact NIRSA Director of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships Erin O’Sullivan.
Director of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships at | NIRSA Profile

Erin O'Sullivan is currently the Director of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships at NIRSA.