Fall Symposium: "The Fragile Future of Democracy"
Left to right: Professor John Hibbing, Professor Emeriti David Forsythe, Professor Zoltan Barany, and on the screen, Ben Haas.
Each fall, OLLI at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), in collaboration with the Unitarian Church in Lincoln, hosts a symposium focusing on global/international affairs. “The Fragile Future of Democracy,” exploring how American democracy has undergone a number of threats and challenges was a timely topic for this year.

The OLLI planning committee met in April of 2021 to begin planning and within 30 minutes were able to come to consensus about the topic. OLLI planning committee member and Political Science Emeriti at UNL, David Forsythe, was instrumental in recruiting speakers with ties to UNL, including: John Hibbing, professor, Political Science, UNL; Patricia Davis, director, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Global Programs, U.S. Department of State, New Alexandria, Va.; and, Zoltan Barany, professor, Government, University of Texas at Austin.

Submitted by: Bob Michl, Director, OLLI at the University of Nebraska Lincoln
Vietnam 50 Years Later: An Osher at JHU Journal Special Edition
HMH-462/Third Marine Air Wing from the Marine Air Station in Tustin, CA drops off supplies (food, water, ammunitions, mail) to Marines on Mutter’s Ridge, the name given to the Núi Cây Tre ridge, in Quảng Trị Province at the southern edge of the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone. Credit: James Talone
The Osher Institute at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) publishes a semi-annual 16-page Journal containing essays, poetry, and memoirs written by its members giving them a place to share their meaningful and memorable experiences. It also gives members a chance to connect and to inspire one another.

Osher at JHU Director, Susan Howard noted, “Written communications like the Journal became even more important during the pandemic as a way to foster community.” A very special Journal issue, devoted to members’ Vietnam memoirs, was brought to life by the program’s memoir writing teacher, Diane Scharper, who said, “We lived through one of the most unpopular wars in history. These are our stories.”

Scharper was inspired by a class member who, at the start of the Vietnam War, joined a Special Forces Unit and learned how to parachute into the jungles of Vietnam. Later, as a newly minted doctor, he treated the wounded and dying there. Scharper asked program coordinator, Kathy Cooke, about collecting Vietnam memoirs from all the members and offered to be guest editor. Members responded enthusiastically, submitting pieces from diverse perspectives including brothers off to war, the draft, basic training, young couples separated by service on far-away continents, and the capriciousness of timing. Scharper worked with members to write and polish their work often asking them to revise an essay several times, and they did so willingly. Long-time designer Elizabeth Gething sourced images and created a stunning layout which takes the reader back to this tumultuous time in history.

The resulting 32-page, four-color issue was supported by fundraising donations from the Osher community which paid for editing, design and printing—plus mailing a copy to each member. This project of the Osher at JHU community not only captures an important history, it also prompted another project to video record interviews of three members’ WWII stories. Both projects reinforce what we know—writing is a powerful way to share experiences and honor lives both similar to and different from our own. While two “regular” Journals have been published since this one, ideas for the next special issue Journal are on the horizon.  

Submitted by: Susan Howard, Director, Osher Institute at Johns Hopkins University
Tech Questions Answered
Theresa Robinett showing the available resources from Tech2Connect over Zoom
Have you ever wanted to know how to use Zoom, how to operate an iPad, iPhone, Android phone, or laptop, how to use Instagram and other apps, or, how to utilize technology and communication assistive devices to help you stay connected? OLLI at Casper College collaborated with several partners to assist all interested OLLI members with these and other technology questions. 
On October 8th, Casper College hosted a technology based Open House. A free event for OLLI members and their friends, to participate in training and discussion regarding all their technology needs. This open house was an opportunity for members to receive technical assistance, learn more about their devices, and get questions answered. Additionally, the Open House featured demonstrations on a variety of devices.
Led by an instructor of Occupational Therapy at Casper College, Theresa Robinett, this endeavor brought together OLLI at Casper College with several partners, all having an interest in connecting and assisting older adults with technology. First, Casper College’s Occupational Therapist Assistant program provided the training and created resources. Next, the Wyoming Assistive Technology Resources (WATR) through the University of Wyoming offers statewide technology-related assistance through coordination and support of multiple activities. Finally, Tech2Connect, a provider of resources through the Wyoming Center on Aging. These forces came together to help OLLI members get trained-up in technology.
This Open House was just one event in a variety of resources and events this partnership provides to OLLI members and older adults in Wyoming. In addition to the Open House, Casper’s Occupational Therapist Assistant students conduct Open Labs, in-person and online twice a week. In-person labs are held weekly on Tuesdays, and Zoom video labs are held weekly on Thursdays, giving OLLI members the opportunity to learn technology in-person or from home. Finally, this partnership connects OLLI members to a wide range of resources available through WATR and the Wyoming Center on Aging; including a device loan program, device demonstrations, and video resources. Watch an introduction video to learn more on this program.
Submitted by: Kat Bohr-Buresh, Coordinator, OLLI at Casper College
2022 Osher Institutes National Conference
The 2022 Osher Institutes National Conference will be held April 25-27, 2022 at the Omni Interlocken Hotel in Broomfield, CO. Registration for the Conference will begin in early January 2022. You can now view the Schedule at a Glance on the Osher NRC website.
Who is Invited to Attend?
We limit participation to two attendees per Institute to make it possible for the delegates, National Resource Center staff and the Osher Foundation staff and Board Members to meet each other, network, and have substantive discussions and interactions. An invitation email will be sent to only the main staff contact at each Institute for their coordination. Each OLLI may decide upon the two delegates selected, but we request that one staff leader and one volunteer leader attend from each Osher Institute. The Osher Foundation generously funds the cost of registration, accommodations, and meals for attendees. Individual Institutes will be responsible for arranging and paying for transportation of their participants to the conference, including airline travel, ground transportation to and from the airport and personal expenses incurred during travel.
Dear Olli
Dear Olli,
At my Osher Institute we are trying different setups for addressing audio issues in hybrid classes. A problem we are having is how to conduct in-person discussions and questions so that our online attendees can hear and participate. I am wondering if there are OLLIs out there that have found solutions for this problem.
-OLLI Director

Dear OLLI Director,
First, rest assured, you are not alone in this issue. Many OLLIs find that poor sound quality can detract from the educational experience for the at-home member in hybrid classes. Of course, what works for one OLLI may not work for another, but here are some ways that Institutes are addressing sound issues: First, some have added microphones to their classrooms, this method involves using area microphones dropped down from the ceiling or on table tops. Others are passing microphones around the room, often using two or three microphones to cover different areas of the space. A few are putting standing microphones in the aisle where members can queue up to ask a question. A simpler solution adapted by several OLLIs is having all questions go through a moderator that either states the question into a microphone or types it into the Zoom chat. Finally, some ask instructors to repeat the question (be it from Zoom chat or in the classroom). Of course, there are other methods that can be employed to improve the sound experience, but hopefully these few will give you some ideas to try.

Have a question for Olli? Please send it in care of Kevin Connaughton (kevin.connaughton@northwestern.edu). 
Quick Tip - Piggyback on University Fundraising Campaigns
Most universities and colleges have a day of giving each year where they run a campus-wide fundraising campaign for current students and alumni. This day can be a great opportunity for Osher Institutes to encourage donors within their membership to contribute, making it known that donations will go directly to the OLLI. The university will already have the systems for donations set-up, so it is an easy add-on for the Institute.
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Is there a staff opening at your Osher Institute? Please send it to us at oshernrc@northwestern.edu