“For 14 years I have very much enjoyed being an Osher student, but after accepting an invitation to become a volunteer on the Membership Committee, my entire Osher experience has been enriched. By being part of the Membership Committee and attending the meetings, I have learned a lot about the history of Osher, and have gained a greater appreciation for other committees, departments, and staff, and the complexity of what it takes to keep Osher Towson running smoothly. In addition, being on the Membership Committee has opened the door for me to volunteer for specific projects or events, allowing me to meet new people and to actually get to know Osher students who had formerly just been friendly classmates.” —Anne Jamison, Membership Committee
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Towson University thrives in no small part due to the many members who volunteer at Osher. In 2017, over 80 individuals volunteered at Osher. Some participated on committees, some facilitated special interest groups and book clubs, and some helped out at events such as the spring and fall Previews. Day trips and semester luncheons are planned by volunteers to enrich the experience of our members. The Osher Coordinating Council is comprised of a chair, secretary, the leaders of various committees, and several At-Large members—all volunteering their time to provide insights and recommendations to the director.
Osher operates with a small staff so the support of volunteers is vital to our success. We are so grateful to have such an amazing group of volunteers who stay involved even when they are not in class. Our membership coordinator, Shelby Jones, is the volunteer liaison for all Osher members who would like to participate as volunteers here. Some committees need additional participants, while we would like to have new participation on others in the future. We are grateful to those committee leaders and committee members for all of the work that they do.
“I believe in volunteerism and volunteer at many places in addition to Osher. It helps fill my day with productive activity and I get to meet interesting people.” —Linda Silvern, facilitator of Writing Our Lives
The Social/Hospitality Committee members set out the coffee and snacks when we are in session and help to create a warm, inviting atmosphere at Osher. The Classroom Facilitation Committee members assist in the classroom by helping instructors with technical needs, making general announcements, keeping attendance, and making sure handouts are passed around to everyone in class. The Curriculum Committee is an advisory committee that works with the director to help plan the curriculum by recommending topics and instructors as well as evaluating courses/instructors. The members of the Membership and Outreach Committee consider ways to enhance membership at Osher by hosting a new member orientation, putting together satisfaction surveys, and tackling new issues as they arise with membership. The Art Exhibition Committee creates exhibitions of artwork from Osher members each with work on view in the Osher classrooms each semester. The Philanthropy Committee seeks to create a culture of philanthropy at Osher by educating members about giving to Osher with a goal of increasing donor participation. Our Day Trips Committee plans great trips that enhance the curriculum. A small but dedicated Book Exchange Committee organizes the book exchange with shelves located in the Osher conference/meeting room (113B).
“I have always loved being involved in situations where I feel I can make a difference. It is rewarding to watch the positive results occur and know that I played a role in it.” —Pam Windsor, chair-elect, Coordinating Council and member of Membership and Curriculum Committees
There are a bunch of ways, including participation on our committees, to get involved as a volunteer at Osher. Additionally, we have volunteers who dedicate their time on a regular basis by facilitating special interest groups such as the Writing Our Lives writing group and The World We Live In discussion group. The Popular Fiction, Non-Fiction, Literary Fiction, and Mystery Clubs are facilitated by Osher volunteers who want to share their love of books with others here. We also rely on volunteers who help the Previews go smoothly.
“Volunteering is an ideal way to meet people and I like having an input in the organization. It is an important part in feeling invested in the organization.”
—Kathy Cuddy, Social/Hospitality Committee
If you would like to find out more about opportunities to volunteer at Osher, please contact Shelby Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-704-3688.
Photo credits: Lester Caplan