Designing Dogs - OLLI at University of Cincinnati
OLLI/Davidson Honors College Paint Night - OLLI at University of Montana
Ben Franklin Circles a Perfect Fit - OLLI at University of Delaware
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L á  Maith  from the NRC     Mar 2020
Google Translate is a handy online feature of our information age. It helps me quickly find Spanish phrases when writing to my daughter in Mexico City. And it helps me translate Latin and even Gaelic easily. For those of you with a little Irish blood, you might want to give it a try this lucky month.
Luck and good fortune are things we share throughout the Osher Network. What aoibhinn programs and organizations we've found to enrich our lives. This month, we have articles that showcase some of the ways Osher Institutes benefit us. From fascinating design and research partnerships in Ohio, to intergenerational creativity in Montana, and to discussion models from an American forefather in Delaware, imagination and camaraderie thrive in OLLIs.
Also this month, take a close look at the wonderful new home for lifelong learning at Rutgers University. Be sure to click on the short video our colleagues there produced to tour their beautiful and environmentally advanced new facility.
Those of us with Irish decent understand the "luck of the Irish" is really shared by all who welcome and celebrate life. And this month, all of us in the Osher Network are a little bit Irish, aren't we?


Sláinte duit,

Steve Thaxton, Executive Director

OLLI at University of 
Osher Institutes are often involved in research and design work with a variety of university projects. The advantage of developing relationships with groups of engaged and curious older adult students is that they are particularly helpful to the health sciences and design disciplines at universities. Sometimes, OLLI students have past experience in these fields along with appreciation and interest in the research work. The Osher Institute at the University of Cincinnati is one of those actively involved OLLIs, supporting a variety of areas in their campus community.

OLLI at UofC has been involved with an innovative partnership between the University and local and national corporations called the Live Well Collaborative for years. In this effort, they train members in design-thinking, then involve them in university-led research to develop solutions and new products that assist older adults.

Last year, this included one inventive project to redesign a line of robotic pets, toward creating a lifelike dog that could offer care in addition to companionship. These dogs have the potential to provide tech-based monitoring, detect and prevent falls, and connect users to caregivers while providing health reminders.
"This robotic pet project is just one instance where OLLI member volunteers got involved with creating real-world solutions and products to improve the lives of older adults. These intergenerational projects benefit everyone and help to solidify our connection with the university", noted OLLI Director Cate O'Hara.

In the past, OLLI members have participated in the redesign of Swiffer packaging for Proctor & Gamble, airline seats for Delta, and hospital gowns, among other projects. Last year, Live Well ran two seminars around the topic of Design-Thinking: Aging in Place, facilitated by graduate students and a professor from the School of Design, for 24 OLLI members who have now joined a larger cohort who move on to participate in focus groups.

Submitted by: Cate O'Hara, Director, OLLI at University of Cincinnati

OLLI at University of Montana
OLLI/Davidson Honors College Paint Night
Davidson Honors College students, Ruby Loeffelholz and Ruth Johnson, first participated with OLLI at University of Montana (MOLLI) members in the intergenerational series, "Griz Read Book Study" early in the winter term. Both Ruby and Ruth so enjoyed the earlier series that they designated their Leadership Project as an intergenerational event, a MOLLI/Davidson Honors College (DHC) Paint Night.

The Davidson Honors College (DHC) hosted the Paint Night in the student lounge. They provided refreshments for the event. Ruby and Ruth facilitated the painting projects by providing topics that students pulled blindly from a jar. The MOLLI and DHC students watched a presentation on intergenerational learning and the benefit of the arts, created by Ruby and Ruth.

While all the intergenerational students worked on their "masterpieces", music from different generations played softly in the background. The MOLLI and DHC students enjoyed discussing art and music while sharing their diverse generational perspectives. The MOLLI students absolutely loved taking on the combined roles of guest, student, companion, and mentor. The completed artworks are currently on display in the lobby of the Davidson Honors College lobby for all to enjoy.

Submitted by: Karen Hendrickson, Program Manager, OLLI at University of Montana

OLLI at University of Delaware
Ben Franklin Circles a Perfect Fit for OLLI
Last fall, the University of Delaware's (UD) Wilmington-based OLLI became the first OLLI program in the country to start a Ben Franklin Circle discussion group, modeled after Benjamin Franklin's 18th century conversation club focused on civility and mutual self-improvement. The 21st-century version was founded at New York City's 92nd Street Y, and now boasts about 150 chapters across the country.
OLLI member Diane Senerth read about Ben Franklin Circles in a New Yorker article and immediately thought of her fellow lifelong learners. The Ben Franklin Circle Discussion Group at OLLI began meeting as an extracurricular activity last semester and continues this spring on its path of exploration and discussion of Ben Franklin's 13 virtues: temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, chastity, tranquility, and humility.
"I was uncertain how our OLLI community would respond, but I need not have worried," said Senerth. "I realized immediately that we had so much wisdom and experience in the room. Members brought their professional knowledge, parenting and grandparenting expertise, and lifetimes of challenges and successes -- and were willing to share their journey with others."
"Perhaps most impressive, these were people who were still willing to travel farther along on the path of self-improvement," added Senerth. "As we age, there can be a tendency to believe that we have become who we will always be. It is inspiring to think that we are still capable of becoming better."
Senerth encourages other OLLIs to consider Ben Franklin Circles for their lifelong learning communities, adding that the Ben Franklin Circle website provides excellent resources for group facilitators.
Since the launch of OLLI a UD's circle, facilitators from 92nd Street Y's Ben Franklin Circle program have been consulting with UD as a potential model for launching Ben Franklin Circles at other OLLIs across the country. Read the full article with links to Ben Franklin Circle resources.  
Submitted by: Andrea Majewski, OLLI coordinator, and Diane Senerth, OLLI member and Ben Franklin Circle facilitator, OLLI at the University of Delaware

Spaces and Places of OLLI SpacesAndPlaces
Rutgers University
Rutgers University has the unique distinction of being the 8th oldest institution of higher education in the US. In this 253-year history there have been several defining and transformational moments in service to older adults. 1993 saw the first iteration of lifelong learning programs, launched with just 40 members and three courses. Today, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Rutgers University serves over 2,000 members of New Jersey's 50+ population across multiple sites. OLLI at Rutgers moved from its flagship location in Highland Park, NJ (rented space at 100-year-old church facility), to a world class, state-of-the-art, LEED certified silver building in New Brunswick, NJ in August of 2019. Having long outgrown the facilities in Highland Park, and having explored countless alternate spaces, partnerships, and capital campaigns, the OLLI team worked closely with the leadership of the Rutgers Division of Continuing Studies. The chief executive of the Rutgers Division of Continuing Studies envisioned a facility that represented the future of education in a way that embodied lifelong learning from grade school children to centenarians. Towards this vision, the Division obtained and fully renovated a 60,000 sq ft building at the edge of campus. The entire first floor of the three-story complex was designed as classroom and learning spaces wholly dedicated to noncredit continuing education programs serving lifelong learners of all ages.
Last August, those dreams finally came to fruition by starting a New Brunswick location fall session at the Rutgers Lifelong Learning Center. Icing on the proverbial cake, OLLI's administration would also now be located under the same roof as programming. 
Some information about the Rutgers Lifelong Learning Center in New Brunswick, NJ:
  • Approximately 60,000 square feet, fully accessible; no stairs into the building or classrooms; adjustable height desks for instructors and students; assistive listening devices available throughout the building.
  • Three floors, nine smart classrooms, all on first floor ranging in capacity from 24 - 60 seats.
  • 40 seat movie theater.
  • Two computer labs, one BYOD (bring your own device), and one desktop lab.
  • Dedicated art room with sink and eyewash station.
  • A large convertible space with capacity for 136 students, that allows space for special events (OLLI's first Arts Festival in the fall), and large meetings, as well as a relaxed atmosphere to meet and enjoy coffee or lunch.
  • Parking immediately in front of the building, solely for the Lifelong Learning Center; OLLI members currently park for free.
  • The building was entirely rebuilt with "biophilic design," which is the concept of bringing naturally occurring elements of nature into the learning and working environment.
  • The facility boasts two living walls and a serene waterfall that is both pleasing to look at and listen to. Students who enter the building find themselves welcomed to a world where technology and innovation meet the calm and serene design of nature. A unique, tranquil, and transformative learning experience.
  • Great care and thought were taken to ensure time spent indoors is as healthy and comfortable as possible, with careful attention to air quality, and humidity.
  • Coming this spring/summer OLLI hopes to launch a community garden, including composting.
  • OLLI shares classroom space with other units throughout the Division of Continuing Studies. At this time, primarily working with colleagues at the Center for Government Services.
After a season of enrollment challenges at the previous Highland Park location, the OLLI has been delighted to welcome nearly 200 individuals who returned to the new Rutgers Lifelong Learning Center location.  Being on-campus has afforded increased engagement with the broader university community, and the energy and excitement is palpable when students, instructors, and administrators discuss the future.

Want to see your own distinctive "Space or Place" in this newsletter? Please send it to oshernrc@northwestern.edu.

An Advice Column for Osher Institute Staff and Volunteers
dearolliDear Olli
Dear Olli,
I am a new director and excited to be attending my first Osher National Conference in April, is there anything special I should bring with me?
~Excited Director
Dear Excited Director,
The most important thing to bring is your enthusiasm! A zeal for learning and networking is helpful too! In other words, the most important thing to bring is your fully present self. But beyond the self, there are a few practical things you can bring beyond general travel items. First, many attendees bring a laptop or tablet to take notes, view Institute webpages, etc. This year the NRC is providing an app for conference materials (more on that in our next newsletter), so any device (Smart Phone, tablet, laptop) will be helpful. Next, bring your OLLI swag! We have a room dedicated to showing off your OLLI promotional items; bring those stickers, mugs, pins, or anything else you may have and display your home OLLI pride! Finally, the conference provides many opportunities to network. You will meet many staff and members from around the country, so bring plenty of business cards. We look forward to seeing you there!

Have a question for Olli? Please send it in care of Kevin Connaughton (kevin.connaughton@northwestern.edu). 

Educational Travel Ideas from the OLLI Network
The OLLI Traveler OlliTraveler
OLLI at California State University Fullerton
San Diego Getaway
Day one features the San Diego Safari Park, a 1,80-acre park in San Diego's scenic San Pasqual Valley. This expansive wildlife sanctuary is home to more than 3,500 animals representing 429 species. We stay at the upscale, all-suites Embassy Suites San Diego Bay Downtown. Enjoy the hotel's complimentary "happy hour" prior to leisure at Seaport Village. Day two features Balboa Park, Old Town San Diego, and Carlsbad. Balboa Park is a garden and museum lover's haven! In Old Town San Diego, we celebrate Cinco de Mayo with an included buffet lunch at an award-winning Mexican restaurant. In Carlsbad we have a docent-guided tour of the Museum of Making Music. Learn more about this trip to San Diego.
Dates: May 4-5, 2020

OLLI at Florida State University
Downtown Art Walk with COCA
We walked the All Saints art district in the Fall and will walk the Downtown arts district this Spring! Enjoy a guided walk around downtown to see and learn about the various sculptures, murals and other art forms that hide in plain sight! Amanda Karioth Thompson, Public Exhibits & Education Director for the Council on Culture and Arts, will show us around and teach us a few things, too!  Learn more about this trip to Tallahassee.
Dates : April 3, 2020

OLLI at University of Rhode Island
The Azores: The Island of Sao Miguel
Enjoy an exotic European Island paradise only 4 ½ hours from Boston. Discover the beautiful Azorean Island of Sao Miguel. Spend a memorable one-week getaway exploring breathtaking volcanic craters, luxuriant gardens, mineral hot springs, and incredible coastal vistas amid an ideal climate. Your base is the colorful capital city of Ponta Delgada full of centuries old architecture, great restaurants, unique shopping and oceanfront cafes. From here you'll explore a fascinating destination that encompasses the best of Hawaii and Ireland, all rolled into one incredible vacation. National Geographic Magazine rates the Azores as one of the ten top vacation spots in the world.  Learn more about this trip to the Azores .
Dates: June 7-14, 2020

Quick Tips for Helping Operate an Osher Institute
didyouknowQuick Tip - Membership Outreach
Word of mouth marketing is often an Osher Institute's most fruitful form of member recruitment. However, beyond asking members to spread the word, it can be difficult to find creative ways to encourage this sort of marketing. During their Winter term, the Osher Institute at George Mason University decided to roll out weekly outreach suggestions to members in their e-newsletter. Offering these types of actionable tips (coffee and cookies help, too) is a great way to provide ideas and encourage members to take action. 

  Career Openings in the OLLI Network
jobboardJob Board
Assistant Director, Event Management
University of North Texas

Program Assistant - Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Program Coordinator - Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

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