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President's Corner

Most of us join OLLI because we want to learn something, learn how to do something, or find friends with mutual interests. But many of us don’t know how OLLI is actually organized—who is responsible for our various activities and to whom we can turn if we have questions or ideas.
As I’ve noted in other columns, OLLI at CSULB is a volunteer organization. We have a limited number of paid staff—Barbara White, our Executive Director; Becky Low, office manager; and Lee Sianez, Pro-Class support. OLLI is governed by volunteers. The Executive Council and the Members-at-Large are elected by the entire membership, and the president appoints the leaders of our working groups.
The Executive Council (EC) comprises the president (me), vice president (Len Jacobson), secretary (Mary Meyers), treasurer (Karin Covey), and immediate past president (Bill Fitzpatrick). The EC meets monthly and recommends actions for the full Governing Council. Our actions range from working to ensure that we have a viable budget (which is approved by the College of Health and Human Services, our academic home), to identifying and solving problems or potential problems, to finding ways to improve OLLI’s functions and impacts. For example, in the next few months, we will replace the chairs in the classroom. The EC worked to find furniture that meets the needs of our members. We have made the patio more inviting by installing the umbrellas for shade. The EC recommended the on-line registration software, after much discussion and exploration of best practices in the field. The EC also develops the agenda for the Governing Council.
The Governing Council (GC) includes all members of the EC, plus the Members-at-Large (Michael Gavin and Vicki O’Toole) and the leadership of our Working Groups. The GC meets most months and our meetings are open to all members. The GC has final approval of EC actions.
The Working Groups are at the core of OLLI. The Education Working Group, led by Pat Wrenn and Karen McDonough and supported by a curriculum committee with sub-committees focusing on Leisure World and American Gold Star Manor, is responsible for developing the schedule of classes and special events. This involves finding instructors who fit the interests of our members and the complex issue of scheduling classes and events in our limited space.   (More article will follow next month)


From the Executive Director

By Dr. Barbara White

Our OLLI’s mission is to provide us with educational, social, and personal development opportunities. Results of our last biennial survey indicated that a majority of our members feel we are meeting this mission. Providing those opportunities does not come easily. Our 1,800-1,900 members are supported by only one full-time and two part-time staff. Most of the credit for what we do goes to volunteers who generously give us their time and talent. The Governing Council and its committees are volunteers. Our instructors volunteer. Volunteers supply office support. The upcoming OLLI-Day Open House is planned by volunteers, as are new-member and new-instructor orientations. Volunteering is a way for OLLI members to reap the benefits of social and personal development that is integral to our mission. Some volunteers commit as officers or committee chairs and members. These commitments can last two years or more. But some of our needs for help are only for a single project––label or deliver The SUN, help with a social event or help on registration day. Volunteers cycle in and out but without them we would no longer have an OLLI.
Please fill out a volunteer form and bring it to the office. Working with other OLLI members and our staff can be fun and a way to pay it forward.
On another note, there are two exciting happenings at the University that you should know about.
1) Our Provost and President have written a letter of commitment to be a designated Age Friendly
University. If accepted, we will be the 2nd in California. The website ( presents ten abiding principles for such Universities. OLLI will be an important part of this initiative.
2) The University’s strategic planning initiative “Beach 2030” includes a task force on aging. The whole strategic planning process will
include community members, as well as faculty and staff.
It is good to be OLLI at CSULB!