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All Life is Learning - July 2021

Director's Note and In this issue

Director's Note

Dr. Toni Woolfork-BarnesDid you notice that the OLLI at WMU newsletter has made a fresh new appearance? This new version eliminates the issue of members being accidentally opted out (through no fault of their own) and not receiving the monthly newsletter. We are hopeful that all challenges and issues related to the newsletter will disappear. Thank you to the WMUx Marketing Team for their talents and expertise in helping design our updated newsletter! 

Let’s not keep OLLI a secret or be quiet about the gem of an Institute we have in our midst. Share this newsletter widely with your friends and family with the click of a button – just forward the email! Together we can advance lifelong learning in Southwest Michigan, grow our membership and hopefully welcome more members, volunteers, instructors, partners and collaborators to our OLLI at WMU community.

Thank you for your commitment to OLLI at WMU; you are greatly appreciated!

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


Founders Fest off to a great start!

Our Founders Fest series began with a May event showcasing Salut Wine and The Cheese Lady. We received 100% participation from the survey with very positive reviews. We just held the June event, which showcased Confections with Convictions. Each of these events had a raffle for a gift certificate. Congratulations to winners Patricia Dolan, who won a $25 certificate to The Cheese Lady and to Toni LeBlong, who won a $25 certificate to Confections with Convictions. There is still time for you to participate! Our Founders Fest events are every month through October, but spots are filing quickly, so please sign up on the OLLI website to secure your spot! You'll have a great time, taste something delicious, and maybe even win a gift certificate!

OLLI Founder's Series

Wednesday, July 14  ●  4 to 5:30 p.m.  ●  Online via Webex

Polly Kragt, owner of ChocolaTea, tells us, "ChocolaTea is a specialty store with emphasis on chocolates and tea! Customer service and the 'experience' of education on brewing the perfect cuppa." Course fees include a tea infuser and five or more samples of loose-leaf tea. Suggested chocolate pairings for tea will also be included. Polly will demonstrate how to brew the perfect cup of tea by paying attention to time of steep and temperature of water. Participants should be prepared to brew along at home and experience the taste, look of infusion, etc.

Registration deadline: July 1, 2021

Orders may be picked up between Wednesday, July 7 and Tuesday, July 13 at:

7642 S Westnedge Ave
Portage MI 49002 USA
Hours: Monday - Saturday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Indicate that you are picking up your items for the OLLI course. At the end of the class there will be a drawing for a $25 gift card!

  • $28 for members

  • $38 for non-members

Membership Renewal

Time to renew your OLLI at WMU membership! 

We hope you and your families are safe and well as our state and country begin to reopen. OLLI at WMU remains committed to providing engaging programs and activities as we continue to adapt to our current world.

It is hard to believe that it is already July – which means it’s time to renew your OLLI membership if you have not already! The OLLI staff and leadership have been working remotely since March 2020 to keep our members informed and engaged. We need your continued support, not only to sustain, but to continue growing our membership, course offerings, programs, events and trips.

Even with the limitations during the past year and three months, we've done amazing things this membership year! We’ve been working hard to provide courses online, and soon will be offering some in-person ones too. Plus, 2021 marks OLLI at WMU’s 10th anniversary! The future is bright for OLLI, and with your membership renewal, we know our successes can be sustained. Please visit our website to renew your membership online. This is the best way to renew, but you may also call (269) 387-4157 or email We will be following up if we don't hear from you in the next several weeks. We don't want you to miss out!

Curriculum Updates

One Day University – added membership value

Good news! OLLI at WMU is continuing its membership with One Day University, and all OLLI members can benefit from these excellent online lectures for only $10 a year! One Day University's faculty are some of the nation’s most popular professors from nearly 100 colleges and universities. You can register for One Day University when you register for OLLI courses, and courses will become accessible on July 15. Once registered, you will receive a members-only link to access the wide array of offerings.

  • $10 per year

One of our members shared how much she enjoyed One Day University over the past year. She also told us that she even has a favorite One Day University instructor! To date she has explored more than 50 different offerings.

Here are only a few examples of One Day University's eclectic offerings: 

  • Broadway Close Up: The Musicals of Kander and Ebb 
  • Juneteenth Explained: A Tradition of Remembrance and Revival 
  • Our American Cities: Problems, Politics and Possibilities 
  • The American World of Mark Twain 
  • From Faulty Data to Fake News: Disinformation and Older Adults
  • What's So Amazing About Birds?

Summer Lecture Series: Films and Filmmaking

Presented by the Osher National Resource Center

The National Resource Center is pleased to present a series of lectures on films and filmmaking  that showcase a variety of perspectives on these subjects. Presented by distinguished instructors from across the Osher network, each lecture offers an opportunity to learn a different facet on the topic of film. This lecture series will be held weekly on Thursdays, July 15 through August 19, at 1 p.m. EDT. You may register for as many sessions as you like! Each lecture is 75 minutes with a Q and A section. The lectures will be presented via Zoom and are produced through the NRC. Learn more by following the link below!  Please note that registration is required to attend and limited space is available.

Health and Wellness

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

The snowball effect of exercise and sleep

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 uninterrupted! My older clients laugh a sinister laugh when I tell them that. The truth is, quality of sleep and exercise are connected. 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 non-REM (rapid eye movement) state 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 to the muscle to maximize 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!


Give the Gift of Literacy

Passionate about literacy?

Want to help others with reading and writing? Become a tutor! You can make an incredible impact on somebody's entire life by just spending two hours a week volunteering!

The Kalamazoo Literacy Council is a nonprofit volunteer tutoring organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of adults with low literacy skills through free classes and one-on-one tutoring designed to develop reading, writing, spelling, and comprehension. Through the council's efforts, we also hope to educate the public about the crisis of low literacy and bring together individuals with a common goal of making Kalamazoo County a fully literate community.

We teach learners online through our Virtual Learning Center and outdoors in our Read and Seed community garden and Interpretive Learning Center. Summer programs include: one-on-one tutoring and online classes in writing, basic computers, Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS), Citizenship, adult basic education (GED), Parent Literacy, and Health Literacy for both native English speakers and English language learners.

We offer comprehensive training and materials, plus plenty of ongoing support through monthly forums, weekly checkups, peer sharing, and more. The next tutor training session begins on July 15.

Kalamazoo Literacy Council

  • Anyone can tutor virtually, and the Kalamazoo Literacy Council offers training and materials, plus plenty of ongoing support.

What is the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute?

The program was initiated under the auspices of the WMU Emeriti Council and WMU's 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.