Message to OLLI at WMU members, 6/29/2020
In this COVID-19 environment, many of us recognize the value and importance of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at WMU more now than ever before. OLLI allows the opportunity for intellectual and social engagement, the ability to create connections with others and the opportunity to help strengthen and improve OLLI at WMU by volunteering to serve on one of our committees or as part of the OLLI leadership. More importantly, involvement in OLLI contributes to lifelong learning; enhances social opportunities; minimizes loneliness; and promotes health and wellness, including brain health.
Therefore, OLLI is very excited to announce that in this unprecedented time, we have transitioned to an online distance learning format, which allows us to offer online courses for our members and non-members. No doubt, we all are looking forward to meeting face-to-face for courses, but, in the interim, we have begun offering a small number of online courses for the summer. Additionally, the OLLI Curriculum Committee is working very hard to have an increased number of online offerings available for fall 2020.
Over the last several months, our primary form of communication has been newsletters and emails. If you are not receiving OLLI communications, please make sure you have opted in to receive information or ensure that your membership is current. You can also communicate with us via email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know if there is a problem. As for OLLI courses, we are using Webex, which is similar to Zoom, but slightly different. We are offering Webex-based “coffee and happy hours” to help our members become acquainted and familiar with this particular online platform. Specifically, once you are registered for an OLLI course or event, you will receive:
- A Webex invitation to join the meeting (course), just prior to the course or event you registered for.
- As appropriate, you will receive another Webex invitation to orient you to the platform.
We anticipate that the OLLI staff will be back in the office during the fall. However, as we continue to work remotely, we want you to know that:
- You can still renew your membership online or you can mail it to the office.
- We have a new member benefit through One Day University for the 2020-2021 membership year. For a small fee of $10, you will be able to participate in a great variety of courses and on demand videos. See your OLLI newsletter for more information.
- Online course offerings are available for summer and fall – the fall course offerings will be on the website in late July.
- OLLI Special Interest Groups, SIGS (including a new photo SIG) will begin meeting again in the fall.
- We are hosting online OLLI events – see your newsletter.
- We are planning an exciting 10th OLLI at WMU Anniversary celebration next year – stay tuned.
Without our members, there is no OLLI, and at no time ever before have we needed our members more. Please renew your memberships, register for courses and join us for OLLI events. Continue to support the sustainability of your OLLI at WMU. We need you!
Toni Woolfork-Barnes, Ed.D
Director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at WMU
Dr. Toni Woolfork-Barnes brings more than 30 years of experience in leading various student-focused programs at WMU into her new role with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
On Nov. 17, 2015, WMU President John M. Dunn announced that The Bernard Osher Foundation awarded the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Western Michigan University a $1 million gift to set up an endowment in support of the community wide effort that offers courses and trips to hundreds of residents annually.
WMU has been the home of an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and part of the foundation's famed national network since April 2014. The Bernard Osher Foundation noted at the time it would consider providing a permanent support gift of $1 million once OLLI at WMU demonstrated success and the potential for sustainability. The full press release is available here.
Founded in 2011, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at WMU offers high quality non-credit programs for mature adults in the greater Kalamazoo community. This volunteer organization, with support from WMU’s Extended University Programs, works with WMU emeriti, faculty and staff to offer courses and trips year-round.
OLLI at WMU is proud to have created a community of lifelong learners in Kalamazoo and looks forward to continued growth as it creates more and more diverse learning experiences for its members.
Catalog and courses
View the current catalog and learn how to register for courses and trips. Learn more on our Courses page.
- Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at WMU gets $1 million endowment
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