White, pink and purple spring flowers

All Life is Learning - June 2023

Director's Note and In this issue

Director's Note

Thank you, Dr. Ed Martini! Many of you know Ed as one of OLLI at WMU’s biggest supporters, advocates, and one of our all-time favorite OLLI instructors. I would like to personally acknowledge and thank Ed for his commitment and support of the total OLLI at WMU operations, as well as our members, volunteers, and staff. Ed has accepted a new position at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, where he will serve as their next provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. Although it’s a bittersweet moment for all of us here, it’s a wonderful opportunity for Ed. Congratulations, and on behalf of OLLI at WMU, we wish you the absolute best. Thank you for all that you have done to help further the advancement of OLLI at Western Michigan University! 

Toni Woolfork-Barnes, Ed.D

Director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at WMU

In this issue


We want to thank the Kalamazoo Literacy Council and the Lewis Walker Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations for partnering with OLLI at WMU to offer a collaborative course called Place Matters this past winter/spring semester. This was a great opportunity to bring Edison Resident Scholars and our members together to learn about the history of the Edison neighborhood and discuss the importance of listening to the voices of and giving agency to those who are invested in and committed to the ongoing development of their communities. We want to give a special thanks to Dr. Karika Parker who created the content for the course as part of her doctoral studies at Western Michigan University.  

During the course, participants engaged in dialogue and had an opportunity to learn about the history, educational opportunities, and demographic trends of the Edison neighborhood. Dr. Parker used iconic photographs in her session, illuminating racism, cultural (in)sensitivity, and structural inequities from the 1890s to present day. Additionally, participants explored the naming of the neighborhood and certain streets, the establishment of a corset company, the paper industry, a horse racetrack, the land and housing development of Charles Hays and others. 

This was the first time that OLLI has collaborated with partners to develop such a course; the feedback was positive, and we plan to create similar opportunities in the future. Below are a few pictures from the “Place Matters” course. 



Still Time to Register

Traditional Tunes History: Tune Migrations and Evolutions of American String Band Music– Howard Steiner, Fri. 6/2 and 6/9, 3 to 5 p.m. at The Fountains, Auditorium  

Hot Fun in the Summertime: Kalamazoo Area Lake Resorts in the 19th Century– Tom Dietz, Fri. 6/9, 9 to 11 a.m. at College of Health & Human Services, Room 1035  

Theatre Scenic Design Workshop – Daniel Guyette, Fri. 6/9 and 6/16, 3 to 5 p.m. at Richmond Center of Arts, Room 1004  

Ask the Financial Pro with 27 years’ Experience– James Wigen, Mon. 6/12, 10 a.m. to Noon, online via Webex 

The Wild World of Prairies– Ellen Hanson, Fri. 6/23, 9 to 11 a.m. at College of Health & Human Services, Room 1035 

Membership and Marketing

Spring and Summer Means It’s Time for Growth and Renewal!  

Your membership renewalhelps assure OLLI's growth. OLLI's membership year runs from July 1 to June 30, so, unless you renewed when registering for summer classes, your membership will expire at the end of the month. Renewing is easy. You can go to our website or you can call the OLLI office at (269) 387-4157. OLLI activity has been picking up rapidly this year, but if you let your membership lapse because you weren't quite ready to start attending classes and events, now is the time to jump back into all the learning, fun, and friendships that OLLI offers!


Our June Pop-Up: Motortown All-Stars In Concert 

Mark your calendar for our next OLLI Pop-Up event on Thursday, June 8! Bring your lawn chairs and invite friends and family to join you and your fellow OLLI Members as we groove along to the sounds of the Motortown All-Stars, who will perform hits from The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, the Four Tops, and other beloved bands and musicians. This show is jam-packed with impeccable harmonies and dazzling choreography! The fun starts at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 8 at the Donald E. Overlander Bandshell at 7810 Shaver Road in Portage. 

And don’t forget our OLLI CARES Fill-A-Trunk event on Saturday, June 17, 2023. We’ll be in the parking lot on the NE corner of Westnedge and Kilgore collecting donations for six local organizations who are making a major community impact. Learn more about what they need and how you can help! 


We are excited to share details about two trips in the works for the upcoming fall semester. Trip costs and other logistics are still being planned, so keep an eye out for this information in the July newsletter. In the meantime, add these dates to your calendar – you don’t want to miss either of these trips!

Exploring Detroit! Motown Headquarters and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History – Wednesday, September 13

OLLI Travel is excited to announce the opportunity for all those on the waitlist in 2019, as well as new and established members of OLLI, to visit the newly remodeled and expanded Hitsville U.S.A. Motown Museum in Detroit. During our docent-led tour, we will learn how Barry Gordy’s Motown Records made its mark, not just on the music industry, but on society at large. The sound that wed classic gospel singing with rock ‘n roll has become one of the most significant musical success stories of the 20th century. Recognized by Motown fans from around the world, Hitsville U.S.A. is the foundation of the Museum. Motown Records grew to become the world’s largest independent record company by 1979. Plus, a special guest from the Motown Family is scheduled to join us for the day to give her firsthand memories. You will definitely feel like singing and grooving to Motown all the way home! 

Lunch is included at Shield's Restaurant. Voted the best pizzeria in Detroit, they have been a core part of the city’s history since 1937! Their award-winning pasta and delicious pizza Detroit style will ensure a great lunch for our iconic trip through history! 

Our day of exploration continues with a tour of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Following a welcome and brief overview, this self-guided tour will give you the opportunity to explore an extensive collection of artifacts displaying the African American experience. History comes alive with the innovative displays in this world-class museum, rated by Trip Advisor as #5 out of 161 things not to miss in Detroit 

We love this pairing of two historic Detroit treasures, and we know you will too! OLLI Travel is pleased to offer this outstanding day of learning and fun to both new and familiar faces! Register early to ensure you have your seat reserved for these ever extremely popular venues. 

Moderate –This type of trip involves moderate walking, and some stairs as may be experienced touring museums and historical buildings. Trips might include walking a mile in addition to touring venues. Multiple boarding/exiting the bus may be required. 

Autos to Native American Culture – Only in Michigan! Tuesday, October 10

Join OLLI Travel as we spend a day exploring two unique attractions in the Lansing area! Our first stop is the R. E. Olds Transportation Museum. This museum is dedicated to Ransom Eli Olds, Lansing inventor, entrepreneur, financier, and one of Lansing’s most notable automotive leaders. Contrary to popular opinion, Henry Ford was not the first automotive pioneer to introduce the concept of the assembly line. Olds, in fact, created the principle of the assembly line in the auto industry and was granted the first U.S. patent for an “automobile carriage.” He also founded two local automobile companies: Olds Motor Works (1897) and REO Motor Car Company (1904). It is said that “Olds kick-started a love affair between Detroit and the automobile world. Who knew?  

The R.E. Olds Transportation Museum houses an extensive collection of automobiles, engines, and other automotive materials significant to the transportation history of the region. The museum promotes Lansing’s automotive heritage and its lasting impact on the American automotive industry. Our docent-led tour will ensure we come away with a new understanding of R. E. Old’s unique contributions. 

Next up, we’ll take a short ride to the Nokomis Cultural Heritage Center where we will begin with a tasty catered box lunch.* Our hosts will speak with us about the Cultural Center’s focus on indigenous Great Lakes History, both past and present. Their mission is to preserve the history, arts, culture, and language of the main Anishinaabe nations in Michigan. These nations consist of the Odawa (Ottawa), the Bodewadomi (Potawatomi), and Ojibwe (Chippewa), who collectively form the Council of the Three Fires. This is an incredible opportunity to gain a better understanding about “the first people” and the important impact their culture had and continues to have on Michigan, past, present, and future. Exploring their museum and art gallery filled with historical items and contemporary art will round out our travel through time in the Lansing area.  

This trip will highlight the “first people” and one of the “first” automobile pioneers in Michigan. Join OLLI Travel on our fun day of learning and discovery! It is guaranteed to stimulate your imagination and admiration of those who came before. Be sure to register early.

*For lunch you will be asked at registration your preference of a ham, turkey, or vegetarian sandwich along with your choice of water, Coke, Diet Coke, or Sprite. 

Moderate –This type of trip involves moderate walking, and some stairs as may be experienced touring museums and historical buildings. Trips might include walking a mile in addition to touring venues. Multiple boarding/exiting the bus may be required. 

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at WMU teams up with the American Automobile Association to bring you OLLI trips! Registration for trips will be through AAA and not through the OLLI at WMU office. To register, call AAA Nebraska directly at (402) 390-1000, press 1 from the menu and enter 203 for Dave or 204 for Michelle. The mailing address for AAA Nebraska is 815 N 98th St, Omaha NE 68114. 

Wellness Moment

Just a quick shout out and thank you to Dr. Tyler Norman, Manager of Corporate Outreach at West Hills Athletic Club/WMU, who provides monthly newsworthy articles on fitness and wellbeing. Tyler’s credentials indicate he is an expert and certified as an ACSM Exercise Physiologist, an ACSM Exercise is Medicine Facilitator, and a NCFI Corporate Fitness Specialist.  

Exercise is Medicine and Healthy People 2030 

I am almost afraid to say it, but it appears that spring is finally hereUp until now, our weather could have used an anti-depressantWith the onset of spring comes countless outdoor opportunities for recreation and leisureI have seen a dramatic uptick in walkers in my 55 and up community, which got me thinking that it is a good time of the year for us to review the recommended physical activity guidelines to compare and contrast against your current recreational schedule. As I reviewed the current American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommendations for retiree-aged individuals, I was thinking about how the guidelines had evolved over the last 30 years, which led me to reflect on the ACSM Exercise is Medicine movement and Healthy People 2030 collaboration between the CDC and the Surgeon General’s office. 

Back in the early 90’s, when I was an undergraduate exercise science major, we learned about “Healthy People 2000. Healthy People is an initiative that began in 1980It is essentially a collaboration between the CDC and the Surgeon General’s office to set measurable goals and objectives to improve the health and well-being of the American population in 10-year intervalsThe overarching goal of Healthy People is to “attain healthy, thriving lives and well-being free of preventable disease, disability, and premature death.” Furthermore, Healthy People publishes their “Leading Health Indicators,which essentially takes the 150 or more goals and objectives and delineates them all down to the top 8-10 aspects of our health and well-being that can have the greatest overarching impact on our society.   

Since I was introduced to Healthy People, the number one Leading Health Indicator has been physical activityIt makes sense to me since regular physical activity has such an impactful cascading effect on many areas of health, namely the prevention of chronic diseases such as Hypertension, Hypocholesteremia (High cholesterol), and DiabetesI was surprised to see that, for the first time in my life, the number one leading health indicator in the “Adults and older adults” category is binge drinkingI am not an expert in the arena of dependency issues, but I know about behavior modificationIt has been my experience that the best way to quit one habit is to start another one. I hope that the new habit will be one that has a positive effect on overall health such as exercise, meditation, or even gardening. There is a definite element of stress management in these activities which I am afraid is also a common use of alcoholPublic service announcement over.   

In any case, Healthy People definitely ties in with the ACSM initiative called “Exercise is Medicine” (EIM). EIM is a movement to facilitate collaboration between the fitness industry and the medical communityThe idea is to get doctors to prescribe exercise instead of medications, when possible. I have seen countless members and clients have medications reduced or eliminated for the previously mentioned chronic diseases and moreAnd they always enjoy thumbing their nose at their doctorsHere are the ACSM guidelines for retiree-aged individuals in summary:

  • At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week (30 minutes 5 days on average). 
  • Resistance training of moderate-intensity 2 days per week consisting of 8-10 exercises of 8-12 repetitions using large muscle groups. 
  • Flexibility exercises 3 days per week, stretching to the point of slight discomfort, holding each stretch for 30-60 seconds. Daily stretching is ideal. 
  • Balance exercises should be incorporated into resistance training and/or the stretching. 

“Intensity” refers to heartrate, as discussed in previous articlesModerate-intensityindicates 65-75% of your estimated maximum heartrateFor example, for a 65 year old, the estimated maximum heartrate is 220 subtracted from their age, which equals 15565-75% of 155 is 100-115 heartbeats per minuteIf you have arthritis or other orthopedic issues, there are many low-impact or zero-impact options for aerobic exercise such as elliptical machines, rowers, stationary bikes, etc. If you have any questions about any of this, please do not hesitate to call or email, and happy recreating! 

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.