The political divide in the United States is wide and deep, and two Osher Lifelong Learning Institute sites — including the OLLI location at the University of Southern Mississippi — are joining together in an effort to build a bridge between the two dominant political parties.
OLLI at Southern Miss and OLLI at the University of Southern Maine will offer an eight-week Zoom class called “Conservatives and Liberals, Not Conservatives versus Liberals” beginning on March 23.
The goal of the class, according to OLLI at Southern Miss Director Paula Mathis, is to bring together 12 conservative members from the Mississippi location and 12 liberal members from the Maine OLLI location.
The class, which will meet from 11:45 a.m. until 1:45 p.m. each Tuesday, will be taught by Mike Berkowitz, an OLLI instructor at the Maine location.
According to the course description, each political party has “its own valid framework for viewing what’s best for the country,” and the class is designed to “better understand others, not persuade them.”
Class topics will include mini-lectures in psychology and politics, which will frame discussions about parenting, political parties, government, schools, media, religion, capitalism, socialism, taxes, the court system and more.
OLLI members can sign up for the course by calling the Southern Miss OLLI office at 601-264-2780 or by visiting their website at usm.edu/lifelong-learning.
Membership in OLLI is $50 per year, and participants pay a small fee for classes. The fee for this class is $25.
The Maine location is the original OLLI site. Philanthropist Bernard Osher, a Maine native, started establishing OLLI sites in 2001. Southern Miss is the only OLLI site in Mississippi and offers programming at the Hattiesburg campus and at the Gulf Park campus on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
There are now 124 OLLI sites in the United States. The sites offer courses for adults over the age of 50. At the Hattiesburg site, classes are offered in two five-week terms in the fall and spring semesters and in a six-week summer term. In addition to classes, seminars and field trips are also options.
Classes range in topics and fall into categories like arts, health and fitness, humanities, language and literature, personal enrichment, and science and technology. All classes are currently meeting through Zoom due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information on local OLLI programming, email email@example.com.