February winter scene at College of Health and Human Services.

All Life is Learning - February 2024

Director's Note

Director's Note

Last month, we shared information about how each OLLI member can get involved in helping our lifelong learning community reach the Osher Foundation’s requirement of retaining at least 500 members annually. Thanks to our hardworking Membership/Marketing committee for establishing a new membership contest, accomplishing this goal has become easier than ever! Are you All In for OLLI? Just in case you need the details or a friendly reminder, see below.

How do you feel about winning a free course? Or even better, a night out on the town for dinner and a show? Join our All In for OLLI Membership Contest taking place throughout January and February and you could be the lucky winner! Participants who invite the most new members to join OLLI at WMU will be entered into the contest with the opportunity to win a Grand Prize of dinner and a play with the next 3 winners receiving a free course of their choice (excluding the Osher online courses). 

There are several ways to participate in the All In for OLLI Membership Contest: 

  • Tell your friends and neighbors what you like about OLLI—the unique courses, exciting trips, and fun-filled social events that you’ve participated in as a part of our lifelong learning community. Then, encourage them to become a member or gift them a membership before February 29. Be sure to contact the OLLI office by phone or email so we know that you invited them and you can get credit. 

  • If you plan to take a course in February that isn’t full, you can participate in our Bring a Friend program and invite them to sit in on it with you for free! The course liaisons will have membership forms available; call the office to sign up. 

  • Take advantage of our special discounted Gift Membership price of just $40, good for the duration of the contest! Call the office at (269) 387-4157 and we will do the rest—easy peasy. Gift packaging available!


If you know someone who would like to take an OLLI course but might need a little assistance, please let them know that there are Course Scholarships available. Just have them call the office at (269) 387-4157 and we will be delighted to help them get started on their lifelong learning journey. 

If you plan to take a course this semester that isn’t full, you can also take advantage of our Bring a Friend program and invite them to sit in on it with you for free! This is a great way to introduce your friends and family to OLLI and encourage them to join! The course liaisons will have membership forms available. Please contact the office to let us know you will be bringing a friend so we can know who our guests are.  


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Good Times Are Coming Again!  

The OLLI Events Committee has been hard at work planning another year full of enriching and exciting activities for OLLI Members. First up on March 12, please join us for another Good Times with OLLI event at Milestone Senior Services at 918 Jasper Street in Kalamazoo from 1 to 3 p.m. for games, fun, and camaraderie with friends both old and new. The highlight of the summer will of course be Taste of OLLI, our can’t-miss annual soiree. And, if you haven’t participated in previous years, be on the lookout for our OLLI Cares event—a donation drive where we give back to our community by supporting six local non-profit organizations: Ministry with Community, Kalamazoo Drop-In Child Care Center, Housing Resources, Inc. Kalamazoo Literacy Council, Seita Scholars Program at WMU, and YWCA.  


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Membership & Marketing

What Our Members Are Saying 

“Coming to Terms with the Holocaust” Osher Online course:  

“Just completed Session #1 of the Osher online course about the Holocaust—WOW! Already learned a lot going back centuries—good way to spend a wintry Saturday p.m.” 


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Spotlight on Volunteering 

Are you a new member of OLLI? Would you like to connect with folks who love OLLI like you do? As you take part in all OLLI has to offer, you will find great ways to make new friends—and one of the most meaningful ways to foster friendships in our lifelong learning community is through volunteering. When you join one of OLLI’s volunteer committees, you’ll have the opportunity to forge connections with fellow members who share your passion for education and want to build a stronger community of fellow knowledge-seekers. Whether you want help develop OLLI courses, plan trips, coordinate events, recruit instructors and new members, or share the many benefits of our OLLI to new audiences, working side-by-side with other volunteers will open doors to impactful new relationships. If you’d like to volunteer for OLLI, check out our website for a list of opportunities, then call the OLLI office at (269) 387-4157 or choose a volunteer opportunity on the course evaluation form after one of your classes. 


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Wellness Moment

I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten older that I am unable to sleep for prolonged periods of time like I did in my younger days. I’m usually happy to get six hours of uninterrupted sleep! My older clients laugh a sinister laugh when I tell them that. The truth is that quality of sleep and exercise are connected.

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

Regular, moderate exercise has proven to be highly effective not only in helping people lead a healthier lifestyle but also in helping them get a better night’s sleep. Simultaneously, it is during the non-REM (rapid eye movement) state of sleep that our bodies are in full-on repair mode. Accounting for about 40% of our total sleep time, this is the time when the blood supply available to our muscles increases, delivering extra amounts of oxygen and nutrients, as well as maximizing healing and growth. REM state sleep, which accounts for about 25% of total sleep time, is when the extra oxygen and nutrients are directed to the brain for cognitive restoration (If only I could get my teenager to buy into this science). So therein lies the snowball effect—exercise reduces stress and facilitates better sleep, and quality sleep is needed to restore the body and mind. Sweet dreams! 


Community Connections

Community Connections

Education and Action in Kalamazoo to Address the Threats of Climate Change 

Join the WMU Climate Change Working Group, affiliate organizations across campus, students, staff, and the greater Kalamazoo community for Climate Emergency: Spring into Action 2024, a semester-long examination of the climate crisis and what we can do to address it. 

Each week during the spring 2024 semester (January 8 to April 27), campus and community groups will host events related to climate change. There will be a mix of events such as talks, workshops, film viewings, and direct-action campaigns, among other things, all focused on the science of climate change, climate justice, sustainability, and identifying solutions at multiple scales. 

​All “Spring into Action” events are open to the public. We encourage you to carpool, walk, or ride your bike to events. If you must drive, there are two easy methods for parking on campus if you do not have a semester parking pass. 

1) Use metered parking in visitor lots. (See maps here

2) Buy a temporary day-pass to keep in your car for $5. (Get permits here

Please join us in proactively developing a plan to address the most critical crisis our planet is facing! Questions or suggestions? Contact climateadvocacy@wmich.edu


The Kalamazoo Macintosh Users Group invites any and all OLLI members to attend their free monthly meetings. For more than 40 years, the Kalamazoo Macintosh Users Group (KMUG) has supported Kalamazoo area Apple product users. They can help you get the most from all your Apple products and have fun at the same time! 

You’ll learn how to gain control of your iPhone from patient teachers who specialize in helping beginners and older adults understand how to use their ever-changing Apple products. They’ll explain technology updates, demonstrate how to use different software and apps, as well as conduct Q&A sessions at every meeting. 

The KMUG meets at 9 a.m. on the third Saturday of each month at the Portage District Library. Meetings generally run from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and no RSVP is required—just feel free to drop in! For more information about the Kalamazoo Macintosh Users Group, visit their website at www.kmug.us


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Kalamazoo Literacy Council

Celebrating 50 years of Empowerment: Kalamazoo Literacy Council  

We are thrilled to announce that the Kalamazoo Literacy Council is celebrating its 50th anniversary of transforming lives through literacy. For half a century, we have been dedicated to promoting adult literacy and fostering a love of learning in our community. There are countless success stories of adults who have overcome obstacles, gained confidence, and unlocked new opportunities through our programs. Join us as we reflect on our achievements and look forward to a bright future!  

As we celebrate this milestone, we invite you to be a part of our journey. Since 1974, the KLC has served adult learners seeking to improve their basic literacy and language skills. If you’re passionate about education and eager to make a positive impact in someone’s life, become a volunteer tutor! In just a few hours a week, you can help fellow community members achieve their personal and professional goals. To learn more about the KLC and see volunteer opportunities, please visit kalamazooliteracy.org. Together, let’s continue to spread the joy of literacy and learning for the next 50 years and beyond! 


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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.

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