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Young at Heart and Mind

高级学院 a hit with region’s lifelong learners

唐娜·艾伦 has a new appreciation for the sounds of nature.

During a Bridgewater State 高级学院 class on birding, Allen learned to listen to bird calls. But that’s far from the only benefit.

“It has gotten me more involved and enthusiastic to meet new people,” the Middleboro resident 说 of 高级学院. “One of the easiest things for us to do is to isolate, and that’s not a good thing. ... I don’t want to be a sit-at-home old lady.”

Allen has taken 高级学院 classes for two years. 该倡议, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary, began with just eight classes and 100 members. Now, it offers about 50 courses a semester to around 400 members, with goals to expand even further.

The growth occurred despite a global pandemic that forced all courses to go virtual. Even amid social distancing, 高级学院 continued to provide invaluable connections, Director 珍•里德 说.

“Science has proven that socialization and relationships are key to active aging,” Dr. 里德说. “That’s why we started.”

今天, 高级学院 courses take place online, 在校园, and at off-campus sites in Bridgewater, Easton and Plymouth. The college is expanding to the Hingham Center for Active Living this fall.

Members can enroll in as many courses as they like for a per-semester fee, and scholarships are available. They also have access to BSU services such as the library and fitness center.

“We’re teaching everything from democracy to drones,” 总统 弗雷德里克·W. 克拉克小., ’83, told members at a summer gathering, adding: “We’re always trying to raise the bar. These programs are really, really great and they keep shifting and changing thanks to our amazing faculty.”

While there are no exams or grades, 高级学院 instructor 迈克尔Kryzanek 说 the courses help participants become more engaged members of our global society.

“It’s about this journey of self-improvement, curiosity and skill development,” 说 the retired BSU political science professor. “That is so important for all people.”

苏珊iuscombe, of Weymouth, even learned to play the ukulele through a 高级学院 class. It was her first foray into learning an instrument.

“I’m thrilled with this program,” she 说. “I’m so glad I found it. I will be coming forever and ever.”

对艾伦, who has taken political science and history courses in addition to the birding class, 高级学院 offered a new connection to her grandsons, who are Bridgewater students.

After she received her BSU student ID, Allen proudly texted them, proclaiming: “I am now one of the Bears!”

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