Auburn University’s OLLI announces statewide collaboration, celebrates OLLI Day Alabama

Published: August 25, 2020
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Auburn University joined the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama in Huntsville for a virtual celebration of OLLI Day Alabama on Thursday, Aug. 20, and announced OLLI Alabama Shares, a program for sharing virtual classes among the three campuses.

Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes, or OLLIs, offers member-centered courses, volunteer opportunities and social interaction for people over age 50. OLLI is founded on the belief that lifelong learning enhances one’s quality of life.

There are more than 120 OLLIs in the U.S., with at least one in every state. There are three OLLI campuses in Alabama, each with satellite campuses in their area.

To highlight all that OLLI has to offer Alabamians, Gov. Kay Ivey proclaimed Aug. 20 OLLI Day in the state. A virtual information session was held to highlight OLLI programs across the state and outline the new OLLI Alabama Shares program that will continue even after the pandemic has ended and classes begin to meet in person.

“When COVID-19 arrived in Alabama three weeks before the beginning of OLLI’s spring term, we marshalled our technology committee, dedicated staff and stalwart membership to Zoom ahead into this brave new world of online classes,” said Scott Bishop, director of OLLI at Auburn University. “There has been something of a learning curve for everyone, but the outcome has been that many OLLI members have become much more technologically savvy in order to maintain their connections to family, community and to their lifelong learning classes.”

“In this trying time of home confinement, I am grateful to OLLI for providing online sources of intellectual stimulation, as well as a continuing sense of community and contact with people I could not see by any other means,” said Larry Gerber, co-chair of OLLI at Auburn’s Curriculum Committee.

Auburn University’s OLLI is not unique in pivoting to take classes online, and since all three OLLIs in Alabama—Auburn University, the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama in Huntsville—have online classes this fall, the three campuses are each sharing three classes with the others.

“The six classes offered to us from our sister OLLIs across the state have strengthened and diversified our already robust fall class offerings,” said Barbara Daron, program coordinator for OLLI at Auburn. “We look forward to future collaborations. We have learned that OLLI members are indeed lifelong learners, and now that we have embraced Zoom classes, the possibilities are endless.”

Registration for OLLI at Auburn plus the collaborative classes from UA, UAH and Auburn University at Montgomery is open now through Sept. 9. Anyone interested may register online at www.auburn.edu/olli or by calling the registration line at 334-844-3135. Fall 2020 classes will be held Sept. 14 to Nov. 6, all via ZOOM.

OLLI at Auburn is a program of the Office of the Vice President for University Outreach. For more information regarding this event or to learn about becoming a volunteer faculty member, volunteer service assistant, member or sponsor, please contact Shawnee McKee, OLLI Administrative Support, at 334-844-3146 or olli@auburn.edu, or visit the website at www.olliatauburn.org.

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.