I am delighted to report that the Board has approved a uniform OLLI with a uniform dues structure.
Effective immediately, all OLLI members are free to participate in everything at OLLI – courses, events and activities – at all locations. In stunning unanimous decisions, the Board voted to open the OLLI program to all members in this manner while achieving a single dues structure. Everyone joining OLLI from now on will pay full dues, and those who do not now pay full dues will renew their memberships in a two-step process until dues parity is reached at renewals starting in fall 2012. See details below.
This action was taken at the open public meeting on Friday, March 18, 2011. The Board meeting was preceded by a closed retreat, during which options and their consequences were studied in detail. As with all compromises, no one was completely satisfied, but everyone came to a common agreement. The fact that the agreement was unanimous was a surprising show of unanimity of purpose and resolve. This would not have been possible without the evident success of The Loudoun Experiment, which in four years has bloomed into a mature program of its own.
The fine print: Effective immediately, all new members regardless of location will pay full dues (currently $350), and all members, including Loudoun members, now have full membership privileges (i.e., access to everything at all sites). Loudoun members who currently pay a temporary reduced dues amount will renew starting with fall 2011 at annual dues of $275; their next renewal starting with fall 2012 will be at the full dues amount at that time (currently $350).
This agreement was not reached easily. But it was reached with collegiality and accord, and demonstrated representative democracy at its finest.
OLLI at Mason continues to offer a superior program at a lower total annual cost than many other lifelong learning institutes in the area. And for those who cannot afford the cost, Friends of OLLI can offer supplemental help to make OLLI affordable.
President, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at George Mason University