Most of us have entertained out-of-town guests. Their visits let us show off our
new neighborhood, local attractions, and favorite places to eat or visit. We also learn how much or how little we really know
about our community when we try to make sense of what our guests see and answer their questions.
This can be a humbling experience.
We see what’s important in our surroundings through our visitors’
eyes, often for the first time. In the end, however, our guests understand the real nature of our town by seeing how it has shaped the life we lead and the persons we have become.
Last March, we invited our new Dean of the College of Health and Human
Services to visit OLLI and to see and hear for himself what OLLI is all about.
We got together to figure out what the Dean might want to know about OLLI and how to present the OLLI story in a coherent and memorable narrative.
Preparing for Dean Koval’s visit forced us to look at OLLI from the viewpoint of an out-of-town guest. Our first approach was to recite verbally to him the OLLI mission, vision, statistics, accomplishments, and plans. This is a good story. From humble beginnings in 1996 as Senior University, we showed how our members have insured our continuing growth through their
volunteer work and contributions. We laid out the spectrum of actvities and curriculum that our members enjoy in history,literature, philosophy, graphic arts, politics, music, theater, languages, and fitness.
In the end, however, Dean Koval saw that OLLI is not its history, facilities, finances, or curriculum. OLLI is our members. You and me.
We are generations who grew up here and built our communities.
We are generations who have moved here and enrich Long Beach
with our diverse resources. We learn, we teach, we strengthen and serve one another. We are a community. We are OLLI.
Last fall, the OLLI governing council adopted a multi -year strategic plan. OLLI needs to update its governance structure in order to increase active volunteer participation as well as to develop future OLLI leaders. To achieve this, the governing council has approved a revision to our bylaws. The bylaws revision reorganizes our committee structure and governing council. The current structure includes eleven standing committees, four ad hoc committees, and eighteen governing council voting members. While some of our committees have prospered, others have attracted just a single member. Our leadership ranks are thin, and council positions often remain vacant for several months.
The revised bylaws will simplify and consolidate our governance. We will do away with single person committees while
increasing the membership of the remaining
committees. Committee volunteers will have increased opportuni ties to move into
leadership roles. The committees themselves will be restructured into five working groups: Education, Technology, Communications,
Member Services, and Governance.
The reconstituted governing council, including working group leaders, will have eleven voting members.
To increase accountability and transparency, monthly governing council meetings will be open to all members of OLLI. Adoption of the
amended bylaws requires the approval of the OLLI membership. At the June 30th summer
general membership meeting we will vote on the amended bylaws. The meeting will be in our main classroom, room 101, at 1:30 that afternoon. Approval requires a two-thirds affirmative vote of the members present and voting at the meeting. We encourage all members to attend and exercise their vote.
A copy of the proposed bylaws revision is available both in the OLLI office and on the OLLI web page: http://web.csulb.edu/colleges/