At our annual members meeting in September, we were able to announce that our total OLLI membership for the academic year ending in September 2013 had exceeded 1,400 for the first time. This represented about a 40% increase in members
over a period of four years. As I mentioned in my October column, the best advertising is a satisfied customer. I think that you, our current members, deserve a large part of the credit. You have helped spread the word about OLLI throughout our community. OLLI at CSULB is no longer one of the best kept secrets in Long Beach.
We have also made a conscious and somewhat risky decision to keep our membership and class tuition fees low. We do not want to price our OLLI classes out of the reach of members who live on fixed or limitedincomes. The result is that membership and tuition fees now cover only about half of our expenses. In addition, over the past few years of economic turmoil, our
major endowments have not been able to supply earnings to make up any of the difference. During this time, our members have stepped up to the challenge and have kept us going with their generous contributions and donations. Your donations have also enabled us to upgrade our classroom equipment and technical facilities.
As we begin 2014, our future looks bright. Our membership and class enrollments continue to grow. Our curriculum committee continues to recruit dedicated volunteer instructors and schedule exciting courses. Teaming with the LifeFit Center has given us greater opportunities for keeping physically and mentally strong, alert, and creative. We look forward to a busy and stimulating 2014. See you in class!
Let us continue to “Learn More ~ Age Less.”
“Large streams from little fountains flow. Tall oaks from little acorns grow.”
(Everett, The Columbian Orator, 1797)
And so it is with OLLI. We now have a membership of over 1,450 and classrooms on campus, at Leisure World Seal Beach, on Pine Avenue in downtown Long Beach, and at the Alpert Jewish Community Center. While our multiple sites have helped to relieve the traffic
congestion on campus, parking remains a challenge for a campus with a student body of over 33,000. OLLI has experienced, as have all students, faculty, staff , emeriti faculty, and volunteers, increased costs for parking on campus and greater challenges in finding a parking spot. Our satellite classrooms offer excellent classes with fewer parking issues. With a current photo ID you can also use Long Beach Transit without charge through the U-Pass program. Campus shuttle buses are also routed from parking lots to campus locations near OLLI. And, finally, if you are traveling to
campus with friends, you might consider applying for a carpool permit. We will continue to look for solutions that will ease the parking pressures and allow us to continue to enjoy the campus experience.
Our numbers also challenge the capacity of our
classroom – generously provided to us by the College of Health and Human Services. While this is a large classroom, it does have a posted capacity of 98 – established by the Fire Marshall. This requires us to limit class registrations for the safety of our members. We
ask you please to not pressure the offi ce to let you into a class that has reached capacity. We cannot violate the University safety codes.
With our amazing growth also comes the issue
of monitoring class attendance. While we often suggest you sit in on ONE class session to see if it is a fit for you, that class MUST NOT be at capacity already; or be one that the instructor has limited to a specific number of attendees. We also ask that you pay for any class you attend regularly, as this is the way we keep
our fees affordable to all.