One Book, One Community

Shared Experiences Draw People Together.
Share a Book.
Share an Experience.

Shared experiences draw people together, which is why we are excited to announce we are continuing the One Book, One Community (OBOC) program for it's 14th year! This year, we had overwhelming interest in the OBOC program with 15 excellent book nominations. We selected Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World by Vivek Murthy in recognition of Pitt's announcement of 2022-23 as the Year of Emotional Well-Being. We invite everyone in the school to join in reading and discussing this thought-provoking and inspirational book.

Vivek Murthy considers loneliness a public health issue that affects both our mental and physical health. Indeed, the importance of human connection has never been more apparent than during the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. This book was selected to shine a light on mental health issues and help us reflect on how we can uplift one another — using Murthy’s suggestions on how to use our collective power of social connection for the betterment of all.

The 2022-23 OBOC Book

"Together book cover"Excerpted from the front flap: 

Humans are social creatures: In this simple and obvious fact lies both the problem and the solution to the current crisis of loneliness. In his groundbreaking book, the 19th surgeon general of the United States, Dr. Vivek Murthy, makes a case for loneliness as a public health concern: a root cause and contributor to many of the epidemics sweeping the world today from alcohol and drug addiction to violence to depression and anxiety. Loneliness, he argues, is affecting not only our health, but also how our children experience school, how we perform in the workplace, and the sense of division and polarization in our society.

But, at the center of our loneliness is our innate desire to connect. We have evolved to participate in community, to forge lasting bonds with others, to help one another, and to share life experiences. We are, simply, better together.

During Murthy’s tenure as U.S. Surgeon General (2014-2017) and throughout his research for the book, he found that there were few issues that elicited as much enthusiastic interest – from both conservative and liberal members of Congress, from young and old people, or from urban and rural residents alike – as the topic of loneliness. Murthy shares his own deeply personal experiences with the subject--from struggling with loneliness in school, to the devastating loss of his uncle who succumbed to his own loneliness, as well as the important example of community and connection that his parents modeled.

We hope you will consider joining the school as we read and discuss this powerful book! 


Related Events and Programming

Presented by the University Counseling Center with the Pitt Public Health Office of Student Affairs

OBOC on the calendar

Be Kind and Unwind
Wednesday, March 29, noon-3 p.m., 1155 Public Health
Help others. Help yourself. Make No-Sew Chemo Beanies for Allegheny Health Network. These chemotherapy beanies will be assembled from sheets of cloth fabric and sent to patients undergoing treatment at Allegheny Health Network. Relax with free snacks and music! Drop in anytime and stay as long as you'd like. 

Canceled - For ANYBODY and EveryBODY
Wednesday, March 29, noon -1 p.m., 1155 Public Health
Explore feelings about your body in a supportive and inclusive environment. We will discuss and explore influences of various cultural, social and familial factors contributing to body image concerns. Experiential exercises will be used to help you examine and live according to your values.

Supporting a Peer in Distress
Friday, April 14, noon - 1 p.m., 1155 Public Health
Student well-being is a shared responsibility - one that requires each member of the Pitt community to equip themselves with knowledge and skills to effectively support each other. This workshop aims to provide students with tools to identify and support a peer who may be experiencing distress.

Past Events

Podody's Nerfect - The Goal is Progress, Not Perfection! 
Tuesday, January 24, noon-1 p.m., 1155 Public Health
Striving for perfectionism is an endless task that can be very distressing and impact your well-being. The goal is progress, not perfection! This workshop featuring the University Counseling Center will focus on cultivating flexibility around expectations and developing a healthy pursuit of excellence. Bring your own lunch or enjoy snacks on us! 

OBOC Lunch and Learn: Self-Care 101
Wednesday, January 11, noon-1 p.m., 1155 Public Health
Presented by the Counseling Center, we will be exploring meaningful ways to take care of yourself and help navigate the demands of college life. Explore ways to engage in self-nourishing activities that enhance your well-being. Bring your own lunch, or enjoy some snacks on the Office of Student Affairs. 

Send Silence Packing
October 26, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Cathedral of Learning Lawn

A powerful and moving display of stories and backpacks that aims to inspire action for suicide prevention, connect viewers to mental health resources, and jump-start action. Send Silence Packing catalyzes conversations in a way that contributes to a community’s overall positive climate for mental health. We each have a part to play. By learning more about suicide, speaking out, and changing the conversation about mental health from one dominated by stigma and ignorance to one of support and understanding, we can all save lives.

The University Counseling Center and Active Minds at Pitt are very excited to be involved with this program, and they need your help to make it a success! If you are interested in volunteering during the display, please sign up at

Active Minds continues to collect backpacks and personal stories from families and friends whose lives have been touched by suicide and passersby are invited to walk among the Send Silence Packing backpacks to see the photographs and read the stories attached to them.

In case of inclement weather, the display will be held indoors at the O’Hara Student Center.

Chips and Tips with the University Counseling Center
October 24, 3:30-5 p.m., Public Health Commons
Join the Pitt Public Health Office of Student Affairs for this recurring event featuring Pitt's Counseling Center this month. Learn about their various mental health resources for students. 

Stress Management
Wednesday, February 15, 2-3 p.m., 1155 Public Health
Stress is an inevitable part of life but that doesn't mean you can't thrive! In fact, some stress can be beneficial! Join the Pitt Public Health Office of Student Affairs and the University Counseling Center for an interactive workshop where you will learn ways to navigate and manage your stress levels and make stress work for you! Light snacks will be provided. 

Coping In College
Tuesday, February 21, 3-4 p.m., 1155 Public Health
Get some help coping with the demands of college and/or graduate school with a basic understanding of how the body responds to stress and begin developing a coping toolbox.

Understanding and Managing Anxiety
Tuesday, February 28, 3-4 p.m., 1155 Public Health
Learn about the function and symptoms of anxiety plus strategies on how to manage anxiety, including cognitive strategies, distraction techniques and self-care.

Canceled - Healthy Relationships and Communications
Thursday, March 9, noon - 1 p.m., 1155 Public Health
Relationships can impact our overall well-being in a number of ways. In this workshop , learn about qualities of healthy relationships and strategies for building them with friends, family, classmates and partners. Learn effective communication strategies to maintain and grow relationships.