From the Desk of the Executive Director–Research Study Participation Opportunity
By Jennifer Disano, Executive Director
Amy Adams, executive director of Mason’s Institute for Biohealth Innovation, is offering an opportunity for OLLI members to participate in a series of surveys to support COVID-19 research in Virginia. Her previous interactions with members led her to expect us to enjoy this fun research study.
The Mason Institutional Review Board has approved the following subject and description of the study:
Subject: COVID-19 Impact Study for Residents of Virginia
Description: COVID-19 has touched all of us in different ways. COVIDsmart is a digital health study led by George Mason University, Eastern Virginia Medical School – Sentara Healthcare Analytics and Delivery Science Institute (HADSI), and Vibrent Health. The study is looking for individuals to share feedback about their experiences with COVID-19 in order to help public health leaders better respond to the pandemic and future public health crises.
You can participate in COVIDsmart by completing surveys on your computer or mobile device from wherever you are. Your data is securely collected. All answers are privacy-protected. It will take about 25-35 minutes to complete the initial set of surveys, and you can expect to contribute around 45 to 60 minutes each month.
By taking this survey, you will be automatically entered to win a $50.00 gift card. There will be 20 drawings a month for eight months. An extra entry is earned with each survey finished. There will also be four drawings for a $500.00 gift card for anyone who completes the entire study. Participants will be eligible to win one (1) $50.00 monthly gift card and one (1) $500.00 grand prize gift card.
In 2021, OLLI celebrates its 30th year of classes for seniors. This feature provides fun facts and interesting milestones about our institute each week that E-News is published throughout the year.
Founding member Audrey Markham-Sullivan reminds us that having the George Mason University president’s wife (Joanne Johnson) teach a class on literature led to the university giving our institute space at Tallwood.
Election Procedure: How to Vote for Board of Directors Candidates
By Rita Way, Nominating Committee Chair
There are eight candidates for the five vacant positions on the Board of Directors. Their photos and bios are easily accessible on the candidate page of our OLLI website at this link.
Recognizing the accuracy, convenience, and efficiency of electronic balloting, the bylaws allow for electronic transmission. Because of the current pandemic crisis, members are able to use only this method of voting. You will receive a link by email on May 7, 2021, by noon to cast your ballot. The link will remain active until you have cast your ballot or until noon on Friday, May 21. If you do not receive an email on May 7, contact the OLLI office (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Like any magazine that invites page turning, OLLI’s annual literary journal has something new and engaging at every turn—and the turning takes just a click of your mouse. Now online as a “flip-doc,” OLLI Ink 2021 is accessible via this link.
With pieces as short as haikus and as long as memoirs and stories, the writing comes from a wide spectrum of OLLI members, including, but not limited to, those in the writing workshops. This year, photos from OLLI’s Photography Club also engage the reader and reward browsing.
So, browse to find out what it would be like to be stuck alone at night on a flooded road during the monsoon season in India; to lobby Members of Congress in person at the Capitol Building; to trace your father’s experience in the Battle of the Bulge; to take your family dog to live in Ghana.
Turn the page to discover a Corona Rap (“yes, jack, we were bushwhacked…”) a ballad about the five-string banjo; a poem in support of semicolons;;;;;; another about stardust (yes, real stardust) in our everyday lives; a poem about the ancient Chinese Magic Square; poems contemplating current events and a white man’s angst; a poem in the form of a French Huitain.
Keep turning and you’ll come across stories—about an invisibility potion; playing basketball at age 81; a family argument overheard; the mystery of a neighbor’s disappearance . . . and more.
The last meeting of the History Club until next fall will take place on Wednesday, May 5 at 4:00. Our speaker will be Peter Ansoff, and his subject is intriguingly titled “A Flag That Never Was: The Origins of the ‘First Navy Jack.’” Peter says that the flag, with its stretched-out rattlesnake and 13 red and white stripes, is a familiar image in American history books, and the Navy has flown it since 1976 to commemorate its heritage. However, as we shall learn, the flag appears to be an accidental invention by 19th century historians. As OLLI members know, Peter’s presentations are always full of interesting facts that hinge on unexpected twists and turns. As usual, we will meet by way of Zoom, and you won’t want to miss this presentation.
Talk with OLLI friends at any time on this 24-7 open ChatLine. Arrange a time to meet friends online or drop in for an organized discussion. We have scheduled a few specific times and topics for chats this week, including:
Monday, May 3, 4:30-5:30—Topic: Mystery authors, books, TV series. Share your favorite genres, and characters.
Wednesday, May 5, 4:30-5:30—Topic: OLLI Clubs. Do you know about our 25 clubs? Some are ongoing in virtual mode; a few are on hiatus. Do you belong to any? Support any? Have suggestions for improving them or adding new ones? Do you want your club to return to the classroom—perhaps as a pilot in our gradual return to face-to-face interaction? Your thoughts are appreciated.
Look for links to this and any future ChatLine events in your inbox as part of the daily schedule email. Have feedback or an idea on a time/topic? Click here to email Doris Bloch.
Phyllis Furdell, member since 2009, died on December 22, 2020. Her employment field was urban policy; she co-authored a book on how city governments could address unemployment issues. A pastel artist, her paintings reflected her love of cities and her background in urban issues. At OLLI, she enjoyed studying art as well as philosophy and science.
You are invited to attend a memorial service for her to be held on Tuesday, May 18, at 2:00, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, 4444 Arlington Boulevard, Arlington, VA. The service will take place in the church's Memorial Garden where Phyllis' remains will be buried, and everyone is welcome to say a few words during the service. A friend is assembling a remembrance booklet with photos and other items (e.g., examples of her art and poems, articles about her); if you would like to contribute something, send it as soon as possible to email@example.com. Further information is available at this link.
Although Mason’s campus is shut down, online entertainment continues for us to access and enjoy. Dr. Linda Apple Monson produces a periodic “Notes from the Director.” This email is full of interesting online performances by the students and faculty of the School of Music. If you would like to receive these bulletins, just send an email to Brianna Schoen firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, the Center for the Arts has a websiteMason Arts at Home, which has a calendar of online events and access to many past performances. Information can also be found at CFA ticket purchase page, Center for the Arts YouTube Channel, or the Hylton ticket purchase page.
Please note: Physical meetings for clubs and activities are canceled until further notice in accordance with Mason’s guidelines. OLLI is conducting its classes and activities online. Refer to the university's coronavirus website for official university updates and check the OLLI calendar for revised information.
The following list covering the next two weeks is extracted for your convenience from the master online calendar maintained by the office. The list is accurate as of mid-week but for the most up-to-date information, please view the latest forecast of coming events on our website (News/OLLI Calendar). Note: All OLLI members are welcome at, and encouraged to attend, meetings of the Board of Directors, committees and resource groups, kick-off coffees, etc. (bolded below). The OLLI office has sent (or will send) emails with links and meeting passwords to club members; you may also log in at the member portal and click on ZOOM CLASS LINKS.
Sat May 1
Tai Chi Club
Mon May 3
ChatLine: Mystery Authors, Books, TV Series
Tue May 4
Tai Chi Club
Wed May 5
Mah Jongg Club
History Club ChatLine: OLLI Clubs
Ethnic Eats Club
Thu May 6
Tai Chi Club
Fri May 7
Virtual Annual Business Meeting
Sat May 8
Tai Chi Club
Tue May 11
Tai Chi Club
Wed May 12
Memoir and More Writing Group
Thu May 13
Tai Chi Club
Fri May 14
Craft & Conversation
Grab ‘n’ Gab Coffee Klatch
Classic Literature Club
Tallwood Book Club
OLLI E-News was created by Rod Zumbro, who served as its editor from 2005 to 2013.
Chief Editor: Paul Van Hemel
Associate Editor: David Gundry
Weekly Editor Team: David Gundry, John Nash, Sheri Siesseger, Paul Van Hemel Proofreaders: Rebecca Jann, Susan Van Hemel, Tom Appich, Roz Stark, Jane Hassell
Submissions: Members are encouraged to submit letters to the editor, letters to Ms. Ollie Ettakit (on etiquette matters), OLLI-related news items, articles, and photos. Submit material to: email@example.com. Deadline: Tuesday, 6:00, for that week's issue (Monday, 6:00, for letters to the editor); early submissions are greatly appreciated. Please limit articles to about 250 words. Search E-News: You can view past issues of OLLI E-News at ENews Archives. To search the content within issues, use Search or enter your search term(s) in Google followed by “site:olli.gmu.edu/” without the quotes.