Day one

Thursday, October 12th

12:00 -1:00 PM

Attendee Check-In

Attendees will check-in at Harvard Memorial Church.

Opening Session

1:00 – 2:45 PM

Social Connection & Flourishing Throughout Life

We’ll begin our time together with the big picture: what we know about rising loneliness and isolation and the devastating effects they have on individuals and communities, but also reasons for hope and action, and our aims for the conversations ahead. You’ll also hear findings about the keys to human flourishing from Dr. Bob Waldinger of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the longest-running studies of adult physical and mental well-being.

Drivers of Disconnection: Identifying Root Causes

Effectively combating rising loneliness and social isolation requires identifying not only the troubling effects, but also the root causes of our fraying social fabric. This session will highlight several critical drivers of declining social connection in America today and why they merit our attention. We’ll hear insights from leading researchers in different fields— Professor Theresa Kuchler (economic drivers of community breakdown), Professor Robert  Putnam (civic and religious disengagement), and Professor Tyler VanderWeele (religious disaffiliation)—with Q&A and discussion to follow.

3:15 – 4:35 PM

Community Leader Storytelling and The Learning Tree Workshop

The Action Guide to Build Socially Connected Communities is live! Hear from four local leaders in Atlanta, GA, San Antonio, TX, Bangor, ME and Minneapolis, MN whose communities were instrumental in informing the Action Guide and how they are prioritizing connection in their work. This will be an interactive session where attendees will have the opportunity to share about their communities and learn about asset-based community development.

Building Connected Communities

4:50 – 6:15 PM

Policy and Progress: The role of local government

Social connection is a public health issue. Join us for a conversation with Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, expert in social connection and health, and four local government leaders as they discuss their work fostering socially connected cities and the role you can play in building connection in your community..

*Check agenda for updated times*

Now Friday at 3:00 PM in Memorial Church

Earlier this year the U.S. Surgeon General released an Advisory on the Healing Effects of Social Connection and Community. Attend a fireside chat and Q&A with Dr. Vivek Murthy and Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad on Friday at 3:00PM in Memorial Church.

7:30 PM (Doors Open at 7:00 PM)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School

Film Screening: Join or Die

A special evening with Dr. Robert Putnam! We’ll have the opportunity to screen the new documentary Join or Die (2023) — “a film about why you should join a club — and why the fate of America depends on it.”  

In this feature documentary, follow the half-century story of America’s civic unraveling through the journey of legendary social scientist Robert Putnam, whose groundbreaking “Bowling Alone” research into America’s decades-long decline in community connections could hold the answers to our democracy’s present crisis.

The documentary screening will be followed by discussion with Dr. Putnam in conversation with journalist Amanda Ripley, as well as Q&A with the audience.

*Doors open at 7:00; please arrive early, as we will start the film promptly at 7:30.

See More!