We all know how important it is to never stop learning. The older we get, the easier it becomes to get stuck in the same old routine thinking the same old thoughts and becoming stale stale STALE. My mantra is to try and do something creative everyday. I seek out ways to keep learning and to stimulate my creative juices. I’ve recently found a new wellspring of inspiration through Olli at University of Arkansas.
I don’t know about you, but the word “olli” immediately makes me think of the non-sensical saying at the end of Hide-and-Go-Seek. Something like olli olli outs in free? Or oxen free. Or maybe it’s “all ye, all ye” but we (every kid I ever knew) always said “olli olli” because let’s face it, as farm kids from the Mississippi Delta, we sort of had our own language.
Bottom line, you need to know about Olli, and I’m more than happy to spread the word. (This is not a sponsored post, y’all.)
So what is Olli?
Olli is an acronym for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
First, a little background: In 1977, Bernard Osher, a well-respected visionary and community leader from San Francisco, established the Bernard Osher Foundation as his way to support higher education and the arts. In 2000, he expanded his vision and formed Osher Lifelong Learning Institute primarily to provide educational opportunities for more “mature” students, those not adequately served by traditional continuing education avenues.
In other words, no tests, no homework, no grades, no stress!
Today, 121 Osher campuses are spread across the country with at least one in every state. Arkansas’ Osher campus is located on the square in downtown Fayetteville (2 East Center Street) with a second campus in Springdale at the Schmieding Center. With 121 campuses, even if you don’t live in beautiful Northwest Arkansas, there may be a location close by. Click HERE to search.
I became an Olli member the week I moved to Fayetteville (thanks to my sister-in-law who guided me there). In my first year, I’ve taken classes and lectures on so many interesting topics including tree identification, the New Madrid earthquake, history of Arkansas, birds of Arkansas, cave exploration, creative writing and marketing, the Chinese New Year, hiking the Mulberry River, the life of author Donald Harington, and more!
I’ve met lots of wonderful folks, too, including Director Susan Tonymon who is a treasure! She’s tireless and passionate about Olli, always willing to help with a cause, and beautiful inside and out, no kidding.
Now, a few details:
Membership: Olli works on a two semester schedule with both fall and spring semesters. Annual membership fees are priced as follows: Couple $80; Single $50; active Arkansas Alumni Membership $40. Although classes are gear toward adults over 50, anyone can join. On top of membership, each class includes a minimal fee which typically covers supplies and/or teacher stipend. (Non-members pay a higher fee. It pays to be a member.)
Your tax deductible membership comes with many perks beyond learning, including discounts at the UA bookstore and computer store, 40% discount at UA Press, and student ticket prices for UA music events. Check website for other benefits.
Classes, which are taught by your peers (current and retired University of Arkansas faculty, community experts, and talented enthusiasts) are wildly varied. I can promise you that finding interesting classes to attend will never be a problem. The new fall catalog includes over 100 classes encompassing 11 categories. Catalogs are in the mail now for current members, and a schedule will be printed in the August 23 issue of NWA Democrat Gazette.
Membership registration is now open for 2016. You can register online, call the Olli office at 479-575-4545, or drop by the Global Campus located at 2 East Center Street in downtown Fayetteville. For more information visit (and like) the Olli Facebook page.
Albert Einstein said wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.
I say olli, olli, outs in free! Go register today.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
Chuck Berry, School Days