Allegheny Listens

The Allegheny Listens Common Reading and Shared Learning Experience is designed to introduce new students to our academic community. New students will come together for a common reading experience that introduces them to academic discourse prior to the start of classes during New Student Orientation.

How it Works

All new and transfer students, along with current students, faculty and staff will read a book that has been thoughtfully reviewed and selected by faculty, staff, and students. This year’s book is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. The book tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.

During New Student Orientation, you will join your peers for a shared experience. You’ll meet your classmates and get to know faculty, staff, and current students as they participate in small group discussions about themes in the book. In the process, you’ll learn about Allegheny core values and learning expectations as you interact with others and share your thoughts, questions and ideas.

What do we expect to happen?

As a result of your active participation in the Allegheny Listens Common Reading and Learning Experience, you will:

  • reflect on your personal experiences and relate them to the common book
  • relate your personal values to those discussed in the book and articulated by Allegheny College
  • compare and contrast the academic expectations between the College and your high school
  • discover the importance of reading and discussion for academic success at Allegheny
  • experience first-hand the sense of community through this shared academic experience

We ask that you purchase and read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks on or before July 31.

The book ranges from $5 to $30, depending on where you make your purchase.

You will be introduced to your small groups and group leaders, and we will begin to ask questions and poll students regarding the book in the Class of 2021 Facebook group.

If you have any questions about the Allegheny Listens Common Reading and Learning Experience, please contact or call 814-332-4356.