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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Let me tell you about the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Have you noticed a lot of grandparents around campus? Not all of the older adults you see are professors. Some are students of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UMass Boston. The OLLI office is housed on the third floor of the McCormack building. It is a program that serves adults from 50 through 90 plus.
Now some of you undergraduate and graduate students might wonder why people 50 and older are still hanging out on a college campus. Well, let me tell you that we are enjoying learning without tests or worrying about distribution requirements. We are learning for the joy of it. Our classes might have some reading or writing or other assignments like watching a movie, but we do not have to worry about earning credits or passing an exam.
There are no prerequisites for joining the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. We seek members who enjoy learning for the fun of learning. We have almost 600 members participating in classes and other activities on and off campus.
Now that the pandemic is receding, we are emerging from Zoom classes to some in-person classes on campus and at our two off-campus locations at the Hingham Public Library and the Thayer Library in Braintree. Our spring semester is underway with classes in Art, Film, History, Current Events, Exercise, French, Spanish, Science, Music, Writing, Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, Health, Business, Technology and other topics.
The OLLI institute falls under the Gerontology Institute of the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies. This means that we have the benefit of research about successful aging. The current research shows that people age best when they continue to use their minds learning new things, have opportunities to socialize and engage in physical exercise. Our classes provide us the intellectual stimulation along with opportunities to socialize. This is very important as many older adults live alone.
As for exercise, we have classes in Yoga, Ba Gua Walking, Tong Bei and Shao Lin Qi Gong. These classes, plus walking to and from class, helps us remain healthy.
Our classes are taught or facilitated by volunteers from our membership, from the UMass Boston faculty and from some UMass Boston graduate students who are called OLLI Scholars. OLLI Scholars benefit from a stipend and mentorship from our Curriculum Committee. Our classes include Lecture, Discussions, Hands-On Activities and Exercise. We accommodate various learning styles. Enhanced listening devices are available for our members who have hearing challenges.
Our 60, 90 or 120 minute classes meet weekly, during the day, and last from three to ten weeks. We have a variety of hour long lectures at noon that are called OLLI Talks. We also like to take advantage of various on-campus lectures and activities. This provides intergenerational learning as we interact with both undergraduate and graduate students.
In addition to our many classes, we have day trip, walking tours and theater outings. Overnight travel in the past has included national and international trips.
Finally, we have Special Interests Groups for the following topics: Art History, Book Group, Culinary Adventures, Knitting, Qigong Practice, Stonewall at OLLI, Walking, Women’s History and Writing. These groups provide our members with the opportunity to discuss mutual interests outside of a formal class environment.
So, now you know something about OLLI and the people 50 and better who are learning, socializing and exercising around the campus. Perhaps you would like to tell your parents and/or grandparents about this exciting program for lifelong learning. You can find more information at the OLLI website: https://www.umb.edu/olli
We are avid students who never have to graduate as we enjoy lifelong learning.