Individual and Community Paths to Happiness

"Smile! It's Contagious." by Daniel Y. Go is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

To what extent is happiness a choice? What are the individual-level and community-level consequences of the pursuit of happiness? 

Project description

This is a volunteer service project for students enrolled in SOC 239. Students who choose to complete this project will complete 10 hours of volunteering with a social justice organization and compare their experience to several happiness exercises assigned in class. Is happiness fundamentally an individual pursuit and what are the individual-level and community-level consequences of individual attempts to boost happiness? 

Project outcome

The student will create a power-point presentation comparing their service project to the happiness exercises completed in class. 

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment About 3-5 months
Start time Spring 2024 (January/February)
In-person, remote, or hybrid? In-Person project
Level of collaboration Individual student project
Benefits Academic credit
Who is eligible Students enrolled in SOC 239

Project mentor

Kristen Lee

Associate Professor


Phone: (716) 645-8469


Start the project

  1. Ensure you are enrolled in the course for the correct semester.
  2. Click the button to start the digital badge below.

Preparation activities

Once you begin the digital badge series, you will have access to all the necessary activities and instructions. Your mentor has indicated they would like you to also complete the specific preparation activities below. Please reference this when you get to Step 2 of the Preparation Phase. 

To prepare for your volunteer service project, students will read the assigned course readings as listed on the syllabus plus the following book chapter to get them thinking about different approaches to developing a happier society:

Davies, William. 2015. The Happiness Industry. Verso. Read chapter 8, pg 245-255 (UBL)

Students will need to cite this book chapter in your final reflection paper. The preparation stage of the digital badge must be completed before your start your volunteer hours.


SOC 239, volunteer service project, happiness, sociology