Aside from courses, lectures, seminars, and other activity, at BOLLI, we have an extensive menu of Special Interest Groups that give us even more opportunities to get to know each other and dive more deeply into engaging pursuits. Each month, we will focus on another BOLLI SIG and its activities–membership is always open!
In August, our BOLLI “Make a Difference” SIG was featured in the National Osher Newsletter. That article is reprinted here.
OLLI at Brandeis University
Make a Difference
“Make a Difference” is an affinity group that evolved naturally at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Brandeis University. It is led by two long-term members, Elaine Dohan and Eleanor Jaffe who have been participating for many years with classmates in discussion groups as well as in history and current event classes. For example, Eleanor taught a course called “Resistance and Resilience in Politics and Life” in which current issues, as well as law and history, were discussed. In addition, every semester, OLLI at Brandeis hosts a variety of speakers who stimulate discourse from their unique positions.
Inviting colleagues to join with Elaine and Eleanor to form a group for civic action seemed an obvious next step. As seniors, their particular experience and perspective gives them a unique vantage point from which to view today’s political climate and current events. They also believe they have a responsibility to their grandchildren to set an example of the importance of citizen participation in civic discourse and action, both through voting and by speaking out.
Currently, the group is focusing their attention on issues concerning children. These include topics such as immigration, school shootings, voter registration and juvenile justice. They meet regularly and reach consensus on current critical issues. Actions include writing postcards and calling editors of newspapers, members of Congress, and executives of corporations to urge action on behalf of these important issues. They then follow up and write “thank you notes” to those individuals and groups who are providing positive leadership in these areas.
BOLLI’s “Make a Difference” SIG meets every other Friday morning from 10:30 to 12:00. Watch the Bulletin for announcements of meetings and activities.
All of our SIGs are member-driven. Don’t see your particular interest on our list? Talk to a staff member about starting a new one!
Want to see your group highlighted here? Send updates on your SIG activities for future focus. firstname.lastname@example.org