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The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a unique organization designed for those 50 years or older who love learning new things, is ready to launch its 2019-20 year.

OLLI programs provide stimulating, congenial and varied opportunities to explore many unusual and rare areas of interest. OLLI courses are noncredit and have no tests or grades.

You can experience OLLI by attending the OLLI Showcase the afternoon of Aug. 16. The Showcase will give you an opportunity to sample a few abbreviated courses and experience an overview of all that OLLI has to offer. The event, scheduled at UNL’s Innovation Campus, features an afternoon of learning, socializing and refreshments from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Reserve a spot

Space is limited for the event and early reservations are encouraged so organizers can plan for seating, said Dee Aguilar, coordinator of OLLI at UNL. The link to reserve can be found on the OLLI home page: https://olli.unl.edu/ or call the OLLI office at 402-472-6265.

Aguilar said the idea for the OLLI Showcase is patterned after similar promotions hosted by some of the roughly 120 OLLI groups that exist nationwide, all of which are affiliated with colleges or universities.

“We wanted the effect of an open house, but presented in a different way,” said Aguilar. “As the proposal was submitted to our marketing committee and then on to our council, the idea just blossomed.”

The OLLI Showcase allows guests to sample the abbreviated, 45-minute courses, meet the new OLLI travel vendor, check out the 17 free special-interest groups that have been spawned by OLLI courses, enjoy entertainment by ukulele players, and hear the music of a Chinese instrument called a pipa.

The event will culminate with an hour-long social event beginning at 3:30 p.m. and featuring light hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.

“Learning and socializing are the two primary commodities of OLLI,” said Aguilar. “The OLLI Showcase is shaping up to be a refreshing, comfortable event whose success will help us determine how we approach our future kick-off events.”

Sampler courses

The following sampler courses will be offered in two separate sets of 45-minute increments at the OLLI Showcase:

“How to Simplify Your Stuff and Honor Your Memories,” a look at uncluttering your life, by Melinda Stone;

“The Most Commonly Misunderstood Concepts in Science,” an analysis of ideas that may be misconceived by the public, by Skip Morris;

“Good Morning, Vietnam: Broadcasting in a War Zone,” a revisit of a young Army captain’s experiences in 1968, by Randy Moody;

“All Things Digital: Capturing Those Kodak Moments,” focusing on getting the images you want, by John Keller;

“Is the First Amendment Always ‘First’?” … an analysis of when free speech collides with safety and privacy, by Charlyne Berens;

“The Challenge of Immigration Reform: Finding a Fix,” a look at hot-button topics such as chain migration and the situation at the Southern border, by Marv Almy and Peter Levitov;

“Gentle Yoga,” an experience of mindful movements and relaxation, by Mindy Horn; and

“Sexy Rectangles and Other Mathematical Wonders,” an exploration of math in unique ways, by De Tonack.

Effective outreach

Charlyne Berens, co-chair of the curriculum committee for OLLI at UNL and member of an ad hoc committee that formulated the OLLI Showcase, is excited by the kickoff’s potential.

“We want to not only tell them, we want to show them,” said Berens, referring to the eight abbreviated courses, also known as the “showcase samplers.”

“This is a great way to reach prospective new members and to motivate those members who tend to be less active,” she added.

Bob Michl, part-time curriculum coordinator for OLLI at UNL, agreed.

“I’ve only been here about fifteen months and have been involved in three open houses over that course of time, but this approach has the potential, through the showcase samplers, to show people what it’s really like to take an OLLI course,” he said.

Most courses ever

With a record-high 75 courses to choose from, OLLI offers something for everyone. Michl said all eight of the OLLI curriculum subcommittees have done a great job of putting together a well-rounded lineup of courses catering to a wide range of interests.

The full-year registration fee remains at $75 and may be paid at the OLLI Showcase event. Registration for all OLLI courses will begin online Tuesday, Aug. 20. The benefits of an OLLI membership include OLLI catalogs mailed to your home, some free programs, and discounts from partners.

Aguilar said 1,691 members are on the books for the 2018-’19 OLLI year, which ends July 31.

For more information, call the OLLI office at (402) 472-6265.

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