All Life is Learning - April 2022

Director's Note

Director's Note

For the love of OLLI

Western Michigan University’s Giving Day 2022 is almost here! Giving Day will be on Wednesday, April 13, and this year I am inviting all OLLI members and others within our community to join me in donating in support of OLLI. Please mark your calendars and set your clocks! On April 13, 2022, for one day beginning at midnight until 11:59 p.m. we have the opportunity to fundraise to support our OLLI program. Thanks to last year’s Giving Day donors, OLLI was in the top 10 donor-designated programs at Western Michigan University. Our goal is to be in the top five this year, and together we can achieve this goal!

Why do we have to fundraise?

OLLI is partially funded by WMU, however, the Osher Foundation and WMU’s expectations and goals are that OLLI will become self-sustaining. Fundraising is vitally important to accomplish this goal.

How have our donated funds been utilized?

Donor funds have helped support: the OLLI Scholarship Fund, OLLI trips, events and programs such as the Taste of OLLI, the Annual Membership Meeting, the January Curriculum Showcase and to cover printing and mailing of the OLLI Course Catalog.

How do I make a gift?

Make your gift here, call the WMU Alumni Association at (269) 387-8700, or send a check to:

WMU University Advancement
ATTN: Gift Processing
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5403 USA

Include WMU Giving Day and OLLI Operations Fund or OLLI Scholarship Fund in the memo line. Checks must be received by 5 p.m. on April 13 to count toward Giving Day.

Gifts must be made between midnight and 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, April 13 to be included in WMU Giving Day 2022.

Please make sure to designate your donation to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at WMU.

Please, please, please help OLLI be one of the largest donor recipients during this year’s Giving Day. No gift is too small.

Thank you in advance for your participation,

Toni Woolfork-Barnes, Ed.D.
Director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at WMU


In this Issue:


April courses with openings still available:

Learning Humility and Patience with Native Plants – Ruth Caputo, Mon. 4/4 and 4/11, 10 a.m. to noon, Walden Woods, classroom

Revolutions - Scientific, Enlightened, American – James Wright, Wed. 4/6, 4/13 and 4/20, 9 to 11 a.m., College of Health and Human Services, Room #1057

Celebrate the Legacy of Rosie the Riveter – Claire Kitchin Dahl, Wed. 4/6, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friendship Village, Village Clubhouse Keystone or Classroom

There is an Elephant in the Room! Let's Talk About Life, Grief and Loss – Layla Jabboori, Thurs. 4/7, 10 a.m. to noon, CentricaCare Navigators 7100 Stadium Dr., 49009

Acting Up with Senior Readers Theatre - "The shortest distance between two hearts is a story" – Linda LaRocque and Phil Sturdevant, Wed. 4/13, 4/20 and 4/27, 10 a.m. to noon, College of Health and Human Services, Room #1073

Air Zoo: Crime Scene Investigation – Amy Walker, Thurs. 4/14, 10 a.m. to noon, Air Zoo, 6151 Portage Rd., 49002

All Things Avian (i.e. Birds!) – Randy Schau, Mon. 4/18 and 4/25, 10 a.m. to noon, Friendship Village, Village Clubhouse Keystone

Register on the website or by phone at (269) 387-4157.


Summer 2022 registration

NOTE: The summer course schedule will be available for viewing on the website in mid to late April.

There will be limited “phone-in registration” for the Summer 2022 session. Registering online is the quickest way to secure your spot for the courses you want to take. If you need assistance when registering online, please email OLLI at or call (269) 387-4157. Please leave a voicemail if we cannot answer – we will see it in our email.

If you have already renewed your membership, thank you! We know that a number of you will renew your membership along with your course registrations.

  • View the steps to renew your membership and register for courses online
    1. Go to the OLLI website – The courses will be available here for viewing prior to the registration start date of Tuesday, January 4 at 10 a.m. The "Add to Cart" button will not appear until registration begins.
    2. Click on the "Visit the OLLI at WMU course catalog to get started" link.
    3. There are three places for offerings: "Membership," "Courses," and "SIGs and Special Offerings." Courses are broken up by month. Events are listed under SIGs and Special Offerings.
    4. Registration opens Tuesday, January 4 at 10 a.m. for winter/spring; you may shop these three categories and click on "Add to Cart" for any you would like.
    5. When you are done shopping, click on the "Cart" link in the gold bar across the top of the home page.
    6. If the items are correct in the cart, you may "Check Out." It will then tell you that you need to "Sign In."
    7. If you are already an OLLI member or previous registrant, you will "Sign Into an Existing Account." You already have a "username;" if you do not know what it is, email Joyce at or the OLLI office at, and we can resend it to you.
    8. If you know your username and password, enter them and "Sign In."
    9. If you do not know your password, choose "Reset My Password." A link to reset your password will be sent to the email we have connected to your account.
    10. Click the link that is in the email and enter your new password (there are no longer temporary passwords to fill in). It will ask you to type in the new password that you will be keeping twice. Once it says the password has been changed, you are signed in and may proceed with your registration or payment.
    11. Complete the payment steps. Once you submit your credit card information, wait until it is complete before closing your browser.
    12. You will receive an email confirmation saying that you are registered. If you do not receive this email, email Joyce or the OLLI office at the email addresses above.


Taste of OLLI is back!

After a two-year absence, we are pleased to announce that the Taste of OLLI is back! We have missed connecting with our members and supporters and are excited about the return of this event. Mark your calendar and save the date of June 23, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (check-in begins at 8 a.m.) at the Fetzer Center on the campus of Western Michigan University. Continental breakfast will be served at this free event. Our main speaker will be followed by breakout sessions of “tastes” of courses lead by some of our OLLI instructors. There will be tables supported by our various committees where you can learn more about what they do. You will also have the opportunity to become an OLLI member or renew your membership, learn about volunteer opportunities, talk to instructors about the fall courses, socialize with old friends and meet new ones.

The event is free, but registration is required. Watch your OLLI emails and the OLLI website for more information. We look forward to seeing you on Thursday, June 23! Volunteering to help with this event is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about OLLI. If you are interested in one-time volunteer opportunities, please contact the OLLI office at (269) 387- 4157 and let them know you want to find out more about volunteering for Taste of OLLI.


Talons Out Honor Flight Welcome Home Celebration

Join us on April 23 at Wings Stadium for the opportunity to shake the hand of a hero and say, "thank you for your service." Our 2020 OLLI Annual Membership Meeting was in honor of our veterans. Dave Heyduck from Talons Out was our speaker at the meeting and told us about this wonderful veteran's organization where over 1,300 veterans have been honored with one last mission. Ginny Spenner, an OLLI member and volunteer on the events committee, and core volunteer for Talons Out Honor Flight, Inc. has let us know that there is an honor flight scheduled for April 23. You are invited to support our veterans by attending our welcome home reception that evening at Wings Stadium. The reception opens to the public at 6 p.m. Please bring a lawn chair. The veterans return around 9 p.m. with a surprise escort from the airport. There will be tables set up with supplies for making posters and cards for these heroes. For more information about this great organization for WWII, Korea and Vietnam veterans, please visit their website. You can also fill out an application if you are a veteran and wish to go on a Talons Out Honor Flight.


Membership and Marketing

OLLI is trying something new! From time to time, we’ll select a course that has several empty seats and offer members registered in that course an opportunity to share it with a friend at no extra charge. Recently certificates were sent to the registrants of French or Foe – Increasing Cultural Competency. When a course is selected for the free guest passes, the registrants will receive an email with the certificate attached. They may then invite someone to come to the course with them. If you receive a guest pass to share we hope you’ll take advantage of this opportunity to give a gift to a friend and spread the news about OLLI at the same time.


Wellness Minute

Tyler Norman, Ph.D.
Manager of Corporate Outreach
ACSM Exercise Physiologist
NCFI Corporate Fitness Specialist
West Hills Athletic Club, WMU

Protein, aging and vitality

Protein has been a hot topic in the club as of late, particularly because I have been coaching a higher than average number of vegetarians on nutrition for fitness. It also ties in nicely to the discussion of strength for vitality. For those of us over the age of 50, we have experienced first-hand the physiological changes that we go through during the aging process. Common observations include decreased energy, diminished sleeping habits, decreased bone density, decreased appetite, diminished sex drive, diminished muscular flexibility, balance and stability issues, chronic inflammation and many more. The condition that can be identified as the biggest culprit in the cause of all these conditions is known as Sarcopenia, or the age-related disintegration of muscle.

Sarcopenia starts a negative cascading effect on many other areas of physical health. For openers, it is the obvious reason for our decreased energy, strength, and functional capacity (the ease at which we conduct day-to-day activities) and balance. Next, as we lose musculature to support our spine we tend to sacrifice posture, suffer a higher frequency of lower back pain, and can actually lose height. Additionally, a loss of muscle mass is a major predictor for osteoporosis, otherwise known as decreased bone density. As the body builds muscle, the bone has to adapt to the stress of supporting the muscle and does so by increasing its density. This is the physiology behind the common doctor’s recommendation of “weight bearing exercise” as a remedy for osteoporosis. Finally, considering that muscle is the one substance in our bodies that uses calories to do work, a decrease in muscle means a decrease in appetite.

Here is the good news; it is all fixable at any age. I mentioned a study in a recent newsletter that found "two decades of age-associated muscle loss can be regained in two months of resistance training." I have long beaten the weightlifting drum for vitality and functional capacity and this claim is supported by empirical data. So empirically, weightlifting is the fountain of youth.

Here is where the protein comes in. If you search the daily protein requirements from any association or governing body, they all say you need approximately one third of your bodyweight in grams – so a 180 lb. person should consume 60 grams per day. The caveat there is that this is assuming a sedentary lifestyle. Therefore, if you are physically active at any level you need more protein than the standard RDA’s. This study concluded that individuals over 50 that consumed more daily protein grams than a control group showed a lower prevalence of sarcopenia, compromised balance, and lethargy than in the control group.

To be clear, I am not advocating for a low-carbohydrate diet. We need carbohydrates for energy, optimum metabolic function, and brain function. What I AM saying is to make sure you are getting enough protein to optimize quality of life as we age. Common sources of protein are red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, and legumes. There are also many great protein supplements available, I have been using them for nearly 40 years. I challenge the OLLI readers to calculate one normal day of protein consumption, and adjust to consume closer to half of your bodyweight in daily protein grams. Instead of “Let them eat cake!” I say, “Let them eat steak!”

In conclusion, I will leave you with the “Tiger and the Cow” analogy. The cow eats grass, which would be categorized as a carbohydrate. The tiger eats meat, which would be categorized as protein. Which do you want to be?


Now You Know!

April is celebrated as the first month of spring. The nationally celebrated holiday, Easter, often occurs in April. Many love to hunt for Easter eggs and baskets, along with going to church. This month also celebrates Autism Awareness and is Jazz Appreciation Month.

Jazz was created by Black Americans in New Orleans, Louisiana. This music is like classical music, in that it has no lyrics, and has been proven to have positive benefits for the human body. To learn more please read about Jazz Appreciation Month and Mind, Body & Jazz: How Jazz Can Improve Your Health.

Autism Awareness Month has gained some attention but needs to have more information circulating about the correct way to communicate with people who may have this disability. Many people with this disability have trouble understanding or relating to social cues and structures, and while they often can communicate, they may do so in a different way. When they are not able to communicate in ways others are used to, this makes life more frustrating and overwhelming for these individuals to navigate. Thus, it is always a good practice to treat individuals with autism (and others) with extra patience and compassion. Learning more about autism can help us all to better understand, effectively communicate, and bond with the ones we love. To learn more please visit the Organization for Autism Research and Autism Society of America.


What is the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute?

The program was initiated under the auspices of the WMU Emeriti Council and WMUx. OLLI offers intellectually lively and culturally appealing learning experiences. We accomplish this by focusing on intellectual stimulation, personal growth, social engagement and enrichment.  Read more


What do we do?

We offer short courses for one to four weeks. Sessions are usually two hours long. Travel programs are also a part of our offerings. There are no tests and no required homework, just exploring lots of interesting topics.

In the near future we will offer courses in different formats -- noon hour discussions, several sessions in one week, and more evening courses. OLLI courses and activities are developed and produced by its members with the support of the staff of WMUx.

We need your ideas for course topics and instructors. Let us know your suggestions. Call the OLLI office at (269) 387-4157 or send an email. The curriculum committee will review all suggestions.