Graying Green: Climate Action for OLLI Members
Engaging in Aging
A Story of Personal Gratitude
OLLI Mentoring Initiative Expands
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Greetings from the NRC    Oct 2018 15
As fall terms begin for Osher Institutes, this newsletter features a sampling of stories from OLLIs that span the country, coast to coast. This month's contributors include Institutes in Maine; North Carolina; Missouri; and California. But not all OLLIs have been able to begin their terms as planned this September. The impact of Hurricane Florence resulted in evacuations and closings at our colleague Institutes at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC (CCU), the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW), and the University of South Carolina Beaufort (USCB).
OLLI at CCU director Carol Osborn reports, " We fared much better than our colleagues to the north, I expect. While there was no major damage to any of our centers, we had to cancel the first two weeks of classes and the first two weeks of excursions... The rivers continue to rise, so many folks in the area are still worried about flooding, but at this point, we intend to  be back on schedule next week."
Shelley Morse, director at UNCW tells us, "UNCW has been closed since September 12th, expected to open to students on October 1st. Faculty/Staff reported back on September 26th.  UNCW did sustain damage to some of the buildings but administration and all those who were here and able to respond have done a great job of restoring campus for everyone to return when deemed
 safe. Their steady communication stream is very appreciated. They are working hard on the academic calendar with so many missed days for students. The OLLI staff has been working remotely together to get a handle on our fall schedule impact - which is significant. We have also, due to remote computer capability, been in contact with our membership with info as we know it. We will get through it. And our members cannot wait to get back to OLLI!!"
Further south, director Andréa Sisino and her colleague Erica Martin at USCB are grateful Florence veered away from their immediate area, "We are very, very fortunate. Florence did impact our term no doubt - because of the mandatory evacuation order. However, physically and environmentally, we are fortunate".
Many of you acutely know the impact of disasters - from fires, floods, ice, tornadoes, not to mention man-made disasters. In one of the early 2019 Webinar Series episodes, The Osher NRC will present content on preparations every Osher  Institute should consider in emergency situations of all sorts. Watch for notice on that and other webinars in December.

Our thoughts and prayers go to all our colleagues who endured the wrath of Florence. We look forward to seeing many of you at the Osher National Conference in dry and sunny Scottsdale later this month.
Steve Thaxton, Executive Director

OLLI at NC State University

Graying Green: Climate Action for OLLI Members
Graying Green: Climate Action for an Aging World is a project linking two global patterns - population aging and climate change. There are two goals for this project. One is to harness the potential of a growing demographic to mitigate climate change, and another is dispel the common misconception that older adults don't care about climate change since they won't be around long enough to experience the results. Dr. Mick Smyer, former provost and current professor of Psychology at Bucknell University, knew of our
Graying Green Workshop Participants
interest in sustainability and our collaborative work with the Office of Sustainability here at NC State and offered to lead a free, interactive workshop for 20 of our members.  

The event was held on April 10th 2018. Mick began with a lively introduction to set the scene and then quickly set the group to work considering the amount of energy consumed by a variety of common everyday activities. They then looked at possible actions they could take to reduce that energy consumption and formulated an action plan based on what they  were willing to commit to and, more importantly, be held accountable for doing. They agreed to share their goal with another person and update Mick on their progress. Members loved that the session was extremely participative and that he gave numerous, "specific examples of how everyone can become involved and make a difference." Mick recently followed up with half of the group as planned to check on their progress. Of those ten, 6 carried through on their commitments and the other 4 have not yet responded. As he observed, actually, a 60% success rate at follow up is very good for a one-hour workshop! 

Finally, when asked to reflect on the workshop's impact, its ripple effect, and how people see themselves in taking action afterward, one participant noted: "I have followed through with our commitment to wash clothes in cold water. I have also been much more conscious of all of the things in the cards! I am also trying to cut down on the amount of gas I use." Another eloquently remarked: "I feel virtuous and a bit fulfilled in supporting a cause I really believe in."

Submitted by:   Joan Hardman-Cobb, Assistant Director,  OLLI at NC State University

OLLI at University of Missouri
Engaging in Aging
Dr. Larry Brown Performing at the Workshop
The OLLI at the University of Missouri held its first-ever Engaging in Aging Workshop and Resource Fair in August for an audience of around 90 participants. This Fair was aimed at helping seniors make healthy, meaningful choices that enrich aging lives through engaging educational workshops, as well as connecting attendees to organizations and businesses that provide services geared to the senior lifestyle at the Resource Fair. 

Workshops included Amanda Barnes' "Choices That Lead to Better Health", Larry Brown's "Choices to Add Meaning to Your Life", and Cynthia Claycomb's "Choices to Make a Difference in the Lives of Others." In Barnes' workshop, attendees were educated on healthy eating habits, encouraged to partake in mental and physical exercise, and advised to "think of [unhealthy foods] like a breakup. Don't go back to that person. Go somewhere else." Similarly, Brown, a professional storyteller, explained seniors can sharpen their minds by sharing stories and offering advice and wisdom. Finally, psychologist Cynthia Claycomb, focused her talk on the importance of "think[ing] about the past, the now and the future." To illustrate this point, she explained how she copes with the loss of her parents, and how her cooking and baking for funerals helps connect with families in the present going through hard times. After several enriching sessions, participants were able to answer questions and mingle with speakers.

Submitted by: Jennifer Erikson, Sr. coordinator,   OLLI at University of Missouri 

  OLLI at University of Southern Maine 
A Story of Personal Gratitude
The following story was recently sent to the NRC from our colleague, the program leader at OLLI at the University of Southern Maine. It speaks to the question of the "Why" - why OLLIs do what they do for their universities and colleges, for their local communities, and especially for their members:
I received a phone call from a 93-year-old OLLI member.  She said she will no longer be able to attend OLLI because her body is simply giving out.  She has made her peace with God, has her affairs in order and is in no pain.  She loves where she is living and couldn't say enough about the people around her.  She told me she had just recently been in the hospital, for the
 second time this summer, for I.V. fluids and a blood transfusion, but there isn't much more to be done. While in the hospital, she made herself a promise to call people and organizations that have been important in her life and let them know.

After showering me with more praise than I possibly deserve, she said, "OLLI saved my life."  She told me that she had moved to Portland about 23 years ago, after her husband died, to be close to her daughter.  For almost two years, she was grieving, depressed, and psychologically in a very dark place.  Then she saw an ad for Senior College at USM (the original name of OLLI at USM) and felt compelled to check it out.  She immediately knew that this was the program for her.  In a very short time, she began seeing familiar faces when she was shopping, or at the museum or even walking in a nearby park.  Courses at OLLI intrigued her and stimulated her intelligence.  Eventually, she became an OLLI faculty member, though she insists she was only a discussion facilitator.  In short, OLLI gave her new direction and purpose.

She asked me to please let USM and the Osher Foundation know how important OLLI at USM is to the senior population of southern Maine.  Without it, she is sure she would have died many years ago.  

As we said goodbye, possibly for the last time, I had tears rolling down my face. But I am very proud to be part of a program that can have such a profound impact on a person's life.
Sincere thanks go to Susan Morrow for sharing this story - sentiments certainly experienced by many throughout the Osher Network, all across the country.

Submitted by: Susan Morrow, Program Director,   OLLI at University of Southern Maine 

  OLLI at California State University, Chico 
OLLI Mentoring Initiative Expands  
Over the past two years, OLLI member and peer leader Roy Cook has developed  the OLLI Mentoring Initiative to offer lifelong learning skills to help CSU, Chico  students succeed at school and in the work place. During this time, Roy has worked to perfect this matching system by trying out new methods for encouraging participation and prolonging the length of engagement. The initial focus of the program paired OLLI members with students from the Center for Entrepreneurship and Chico Start, a local incubator for start-up businesses.  

Currently, thirty OLLI members are enrolled as mentors, with 21 mentoring
relationships underway. Mentees are matched with mentors via a matching  survey. Through the duration of the school year and beyond, they are  encouraged to  foster a mutually beneficial relationship. These relationships both support the student as they maneuver through school and careers, and enriches the OLLI member by sharing their wisdom and people skills with the younger generation. 

When asked about their experience mentoring a student, one mentor remarked, "The mentoring sessions with [my mentee] have been very rewarding.  He is very focused and well grounded in his goals for the future.  We get along well and have agreed to continue the relationship next fall when he returns to school...I very much look forward to continuing this relationship.  I believe it has been very beneficial for both of us."

Last year, Roy took the program in a new  direction, partnering with Dean Debra Berger and Jeff Layne in the offices of  Regional and Continuing E ducation. Jeff oversees the Osher Reentry Scholarship endowment, an award, like the OLLI endowment, made possible by the Bernard Osher Foundation. For the future, Roy hopes to inspire OLLIs across the country to start their own mentoring programs, and is happy to share his insight with other OLLIs interested in following suit.

Robust Mentoring Conversations

Submitted by: Ann Nikolai, Program Director,    OLLI at CSU, Chico

An Advice Column for Osher Institute Staff and Volunteers
dearolliDear Olli
Dear Olli,
Our Institute is interested in starting a scholarship program for its members. I know other OLLIs award scholarships, how do they administer their programs?
-OLLI Booster

Dear OLLI Booster,
The good news, many of the Osher Institutes have some form of a scholarship program. However, as you have likely heard before, no two OLLIs are alike. As a result, the amounts, methods and execution of scholarship programs run a wide range across our network. For example, on funding a scholarship program;
 some OLLIs hold fundraisers, some seek community grants, some provide "work  study" opportunities, and some include scholarships in their annual b udget (just to name a few). The awarding criteria is no less expansive; some require documentation and paperwork, board review, staff  review, or other conditions. Often, they are limited awards, covering a particular percentage of the membership fee or a specific number of classes. Overall, each OLLI runs their scholarship efforts differently, to the unique needs of the institute and its members. But, the results are the same. A new or current member is awarded the opportunity to continue their love of learning with OLLI, no matter their financial limits!  
Have a question for Olli? Please send it in care of Kevin Connaughton at the NRC: Kevin.Connaughton@northwestern.edu  

Educational Travel Ideas from the OLLI Network
The OLLI Traveler
The University of Cambridge
International Summer Programs
As one of the oldest universities in the world, the University of Cambridge has shaped and changed the world through visionary ideas and groundbreaking discoveries. Every year, their International Summer Programs reflects this heritage as it welcomes adults from over 60 countries. Some stay for a week, some stay two weeks or longer. The Summer Programs include over 200 open-access courses and seminars, which include History, Science, Art, Literature, Medieval Studies, and more. When you're not studying, you can simply relax in a punt on the river and enjoy the spectacular "Backs," or take a picnic and walk through the meadows to Grantchester, with its famous orchard tearooms. The city is ideal for exploring on foot, and also has a high concentration of museums and galleries free of charge to visit. Learn more about this trip to Cambridge.
Dates: July and August 2019

OLLI at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
See the Geology of Southeastern Wisconsin
Much of the geology visible in southeastern Wisconsin is the result of glacial activity which occurred approximately 12,000 to 18,000 years ago during the latest portion of the Pleistocene Epoch. Learn how the Lake Michigan bluffs formed and why the Menomonee River Valley looks like it does. Also, learn about the glacial moraines of the general Milwaukee area and the formation of the Kettle Interlobate Moraine and its interesting landforms, including moulins and other types of kames, eskers, kettles, and glacial sluiceway. Lunch will be included. Learn more about this trip to southeastern Wisconsin.
Date : October 6, 2018

OLLI at California State University, San Bernardino
Washington D.C.

This tour highlights all the best of our nation's beautiful capital city. Includes air from Palm Springs and six nights at the historic, elegant Mayflower Hotel. We'll
 visit Mount Vernon, marvel at the monuments by moonlight, enjoy a guided city tour, visit historic Gettysburg, and pay our respects at Arlington National Cemetery. There will be plenty of time to enjoy the many museums and sites on your own; then share your highlights at our farewell dinner at the famous Old Ebbitt Grill. Learn more about this trip to Washington D.C.
Dates:  September 14-20, 2019  

Quick Tips for Helping Operate an Osher Institute
didyouknowQuick Tip - Talk About the Weather
Generationally, Osher members have relied on television stations to deliver the local and statewide weather information for most of their lives. Sometimes they develop an affinity for their local TV personalities. So local meteorologists can be welcome guests as OLLI speakers with particular expertise in local climates, the science of weather, and sometimes with deep understanding of the historic weather-related events that had impact on the communities they serve.

OLLI at Western Michigan University will present a two-part lecture by local station WWMT chief meteorologist Keith Thompson, who has not only been honored with Emmy awards as the best weathercaster in Michigan multiple times but holds an M.A. from WMU. His 29 year tenure in the Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo market enhances his credibility at these upcoming lectures.

Consider requesting speaking engagements from a local meteorologist, news, or sports personality as a programming element for future courses or special events. You can be confident that these folks can talk about fascinating things to Osher members.

  Career Openings in the OLLI Network
jobboardJob Board
Director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Program Assistant, OLLI

Administrative Specialist, OLLI

OLLI Coordinator, Part time

Research Assistant III, OLLI
University of Rhode Island

Program Director, OLLI

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