Meditative Walking - OLLI at Widener University
10th Anniversary Celebration - OLLI at University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana
Creative Retirement Conference - OLLI at Brandeis University
A Trip to View the Solar Eclipse - OLLI at University of California, Irvine
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Greetings from the NRC    Dec 2017 15
This month, we recall some memorable adventures that Osher Institute members and staff have created for one another. Whether those adventures were intellectual, social, spiritual, or even cosmic - we have a bit of each.
The Osher Institute at Widener University recounted their successful "Meditative Walking" adventures which combined physical with spiritual learning. OLLI at University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana celebrated a milestone of 10 years of learning adventures with their Vice-Chancellor's reminder of the relevance of OLLI to the University's core mission. At Brandeis University, BOLLI created an "Adventures in Creative Retirement" conference that reached beyond their campus to their broader community. The University of California, Irvine's OLLI remembers their cosmic adventures during the total eclipse of the sun last summer. 
These are just four examples of the adventures that Osher Institutes offer to more than 160,000 lifelong learners throughout the US each week of the year. Each event, course, program, discussion group, or trip is a gift of adventure to share with members and friends and all are presented generously and creatively.
During this season of giving, remember the adventure-gifts you have enjoyed with your friends in learning this past year. Then, let those memories inspire you to join in and give back to help create new adventures for your OLLI in 2018.
Warm holiday wishes from your Osher NRC team,
Steve Thaxton, Executive Director

OLLI at Widener University
Meditative Walking
OLLI at Widener University members are reaching their step goals this fall! Members enjoyed Widener's gorgeous Taylor Arboretum as the setting and inspiration for their course Serene Scenes: Meditative Walking. Every Monday members joined Bridget Thompson (Assistant Director of OLLI at Widener) for a walk through the beautiful arboretum grounds, with guided meditations focusing on mindfulness in nature. The arboretum manager Tom guided the group on their weekly walks, pointing out native and non-native plants, and answering all of the members' questions. 
As the season changed from summer to autumn, so did the flora and fauna which provided the backdrop for these invigorating walks. The weather in South Eastern Pennsylvania hasn't been typical this fall, and so the OLLI at Widener members took full advantage of the extended sunshine and moderate temperatures.  Each week the guided meditation and mindfulness practice reflected on the experience of the group in nature.  Members learned to focus their mental energy on the sights, sounds, and subtle stimuli of an open field, a rushing creek, or a chilly wooded path. 
The success of Serene Scenes: Meditative Walking this term has prompted OLLI at Widener University to include a sequel in the Spring 2018 schedule. OLLI members will find Poetry in Motion: Walking for Prose in their upcoming course catalog. The spring course will use poems about nature as the point of departure for the walks and discussions. 
Submitted by : Bridget O. Thompson, EdD, assistant director for extended learning, OLLI at Widener University

OLLI at University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana
OLLI at Illinois Celebrates 10th Anniversary
OLLI at the University of Illinois celebrated its 10th anniversary on October 12th with a gala party attended by more than 150 members and guests. OLLI at Illinois began in September 2007 with 297 members and 49 courses, lectures, and other offerings per year - and it now has more than 1,300 members and upwards of 250 programs and activities each year. Guests toasted this exciting growth with champagne, a special anniversary cake, and a buffet meal of small plates and appetizers including beef brisket sliders, grilled chicken skewers, Mediterranean spring rolls, and goat cheese tarts.
The evening's special guest was John Wilkin, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost. Provost Wilkin spoke of OLLI's role in helping the University to fulfill its tripartite mission of research, teaching, and service - and recognized the important place that OLLI occupies within the University community and as
a division of the Office of the Provost.
Other anniversary plans include a fundraising campaign, a special edition of the e-newsletter, and a movie night featuring a film from 2007. The current fall course lineup includes seven courses taught by instructors who were part of OLLI's first semester in fall 2007 - and in some cases they are offering an encore version of the course they taught that semester.
And now, on to plans for the next ten years - and beyond!
Submitted by: Chris Catanzarite, director, OLLI at Illinois

OLLI at Brandeis University
Creative Retirement Conference
It was an adventure! On September 9, almost 200 people made the trek to the Hassenfeld Conference Center on the Brandeis campus to participate in Adventures in Creative Retirement: Health, Housing and Community, a conference convened by the Osher Institute at Brandeis University. Sponsors included a range of different organizations: retirement communities, hospitals, an investment firm, and some well-known enterprises of interest to seniors like Uber, Road Scholar, Back Bay Chorale, and more. Especially noteworthy was the presence of the Encore Boston Network, an advocate for changing the narrative of what is possible in older age and a vigorous advocate for volunteerism. And of course, BOLLI itself, whose leaders sought to share the joys of lifelong learning after full-time work.
The program was wide-ranging, beginning with a dynamic talk by Ruth Finkelstein of the Robert N. Butler Aging Center at Columbia on Growing Older in the American City: What We Have Now, And What We Ought To Fight Like Hell To Get By 2030. The morning's breakout sessions covered Aging in the Right Place, Working in Retirement, Volunteer Careers, and Healthy Aging in Practice. Then it was time for lunch and various Expos and Demos, including one by Avi Bernstein, Casting Anchor: BOLLI On Your Journey Through Life.
The afternoon was launched by Susannah Fox, former Chief Technology Officer for the US Department of Health and Human Services speaking on The Innovative Retirement Residence of the Future: The Wired World, Robotics, and Home Health Care Delivery. One afternoon breakout session that generated a great deal of interest concerned housing options. Amy Schectman of the Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly (JCHE) offered an impassioned commitment to "aging in community" instead of "aging in place."
The JCHE is a non-profit, non-sectarian organization that has traditionally offered affordable housing for low-income seniors. Instead of having separate communities for the elderly, the JCHE focuses on facilities with ground floors dedicated to community-centered uses and these apartment complexes become village centers integrated into the larger community.
BOLLI Director Bernstein remarked that "the Adventures Conference was a wake-up call for me that we need more conversation between lifelong learning institutes and the positive aging movement. In the months ahead, we will be looking at additional ways to connect with folks from Encore Boston Network, the educational travel sector, and the world of senior housing to share information and explore ways to collaborate." Already there are plans in the works to employ a Lunch and Learn opportunity to share and process these ideas, and possibly an on-going special interest group as well.
Submitted by: Marjorie Roemer, member, OLLI at Brandeis University

  OLLI at University of California, Irvine 
A Trip to View the Solar Eclipse
On August 21, 2017 the US enjoyed its first eclipse to cross the entire country in 99 years. During the months before the big day, OLLI at UCI member, Marc Nussbaum managed to persuade 30 OLLI members into making the trip from Southern California to see the event. People drove seventeen hours or flew into Redmond or Bend airport. On the morning of the eclipse members planned to meet under the path of totality at the Madras High School football field in eastern Oregon. Watching the eclipse from the central shadow path would allow everyone to witness the sun being totally blocked by the moon. If all went well, members would be treated to a view of the sun's atmosphere, the corona, as it reached out into space like the white pedals of a huge cosmic flower. Nussbaum knew from his past four eclipse experiences that the magnificence of totality was well worth the hassle of traveling great distances and he had shared this vision with several hundred people in lectures at the southern California Osher Institutes at University of California, Irvine, California State University Fullerton, California State University Long Beach and University of California San Diego.  
The eclipse itself was magnificent and the consensus was that yes... it was worth all the hassle. The eclipse left normally preoccupied humans cooing and exclaiming like children. The diamond ring and view of the corona were awe inspiring and more than one person was moved to tears.
Some OLLI at UCI members decided to travel to other places to see the eclipse and many just remained local and watched from the comfort of their own backyards. But above all else, the eclipse brought people together; for a moment individuals forgot about their differences and looked up at the universe, a reminder that we are passengers on a rock swinging through the solar system.  All that we know, all the people alive today and all the people that have ever lived, have shared this same fragile blue marble, all living under this same moon and sun, adrift in the vastness of the universe. It is good to feel small, and to experience a great mystery that lies beyond our daily grind.
Following the eclipse, 40 members gathered at the OLLI at UCI classroom to compare photographs and memories of the event. The excitement over the experience became clear when at the end of the morning people were asking about where to go for the next eclipse trip.
Submitted by: Marc Nussbaum, OLLI at UCI STEM Curriculum Committee Chair and Author of Total Solar Eclipse Countdown-Totals and Annulars Through 2024

Osher NRC 2017-18 Webinar Series

Mark your calendar for the next webinar on December 13, 2017 beginning at 2pm Eastern/1pm Central/noon Mountain/11am Pacific/10am in Alaska and 9am in Hawaii. Register for the webinar here.

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and Member Benchmarking Data
The National Resource Center for Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes (NRC) has conducted a variety of surveys of both Osher Institutes and their membership to begin creating benchmarks of demographic and operational data of lifelong learning institutes. The NRC will review this data and offer insights on the research findings including membership demographics, staffing, volunteer committee structures, etc.
Steve Thaxton
Executive Director, Osher NRC
Stacey Hart
Manager of Operations, Osher NRC

If you have interest in being a presenter or have ideas for other topics, please contact Diane Venzera ( diane.venzera@northwestern.edu ). 

An Advice Column for Osher Institute Staff and Volunteers
dearolliDear Olli
Dear Olli,
Our advisory committee wants to conduct a survey of all of the Osher Institutes to collect some data that we could use to benchmark and help inform some of our decisions. Can we use the Osher NRC database to email our survey to all of the OLLI staff leaders?
~Number Cruncher
Dear Number Cruncher,
The Osher NRC often gets this question from OLLIs who are looking for benchmarking data across the network. Although Institutes are encouraged to connect with each other, we also suggest you first check in with your own Institute staff leader/director because much of the information you are seeking may already be available to your OLLI in the secure login area of the NRC website. However, after working with many local Osher Institutes, the NRC undertook a "Benchmarking Survey" this past summer that included many of the questions that are often asked by Institutes, their members and their host universities/colleges. The NRC will present this data and make it available to the Institutes in their December 13th webinar, so be sure to participate! Details and the link to register are above.

Have a question for Olli? Please send it in care of Stacey Hart at the NRC:Stacey.Hart@Northwestern.edu  

Educational Travel Ideas from the OLLI Network
The OLLI Traveler
Osher Institute at University of Richmond
Canadian Rockies & Glacier National Park
Premier World Discovery welcomes the Osher Institute at the University of Richmond to a 7-day trip to the Canadian Rockies and Glacier National Park, including three days in Banff. Highlights include: Three nights at One Hotel in Banff, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo jump, Waterton Lakes National Park, Glacier National Park, 1930's Red Jammer Touring Cars, Going-to-the-Sun Highway, Kootenay National Park, Banff area tour, Moraine Lake & Velley of Ten Peaks, Lake Louise & Victoria Glacier, Peyto Lake, Icefields Parkway, and the Athabasca Glacier Ice Explorer. Learn more about this trip to Canada.
Dates: July 18 - 24, 2018  

OLLI at Western Michigan University
Holiday Musical Joy! Grand Rapids Symphony Holiday Pops
Back by popular demand, OLLI Travel has your seat reserved for another magical evening with the Grand Rapids Symphony as it performs its annual Holiday Concert. We begin the evening with dinner at the beautiful University Club followed by this festive evening at DeVos Hall. You will enjoy seasonal favorites such as Sleigh Ride, the Hallelujah Chorus and even a sing-along. This special performance also includes vocalist Leon Williams, the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus and Youth Chorus plus the Embellish Handbell Choir. Read more about this trip to the symphony.
Date: December 14, 2017

OLLI at California State University San Bernardino
Cruising the Adriatic: Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Experience the ultimate in educational travel as we take our learning program abroad in 2019. Don't miss this incredible opportunity to travel with fellow OLLI members on this small ship adventure. It's a great way to make new friends who share your love of learning, while enjoying some of Europe's most interesting sites. This trip is offered in partnership with Grand Circle Travel, who earned the World's #1 River Cruise Line by Conde Nast Traveler for the fifth consecutive year. As many of our OLLI members already know, Grand Circle does an outstanding job with educational travel for people 50 & over. This small ship cruise is offered through their Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) division. Trips are open to current OLLI members and a guest. Call us at (909) 537-8248 or email us at  olli@csusb.edu for more information. Read more about this trip to Europe.
Date: November 2019 

Quick Tips for Helping Operate an Osher Institute
didyouknowQuick Tip - Word of Mouth Marketing
Word of mouth marketing may not be the only promotional strategy for Osher Institutes, but it is always one of the best. Hearing a member describe how attending classes and making like-minded friends has bettered their life is all that is needed for someone new to want to join. Osher Institute at Arizona State University director, Rick Knopf recently referred a good friend who was new to the Asheville area to the OLLI at University of North Carolina at Asheville. It is one of thousands of referrals made by engaged members both into their local Osher Institute program, and to more distant ones in the 379 towns and cities the 120 OLLIs serve. Make sure your membership knows that referrals are welcome and that they have the tools to help folks make easy contact. Business cards printed with the program's website and phone number is one easy way. But referring to the Osher Institute National Map is another resource for those out of town referrals. This map is one of the most visited pages on www.Osher.net .  

  Career Openings in the OLLI Network
jobboardJob Board
Program Director of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
Eckerd College 

Is there a staff opening at your Osher Institute? Please send it to us at  oshernrc@northwestern.edu