By Alice Slayton Clark, Communications Associate/Registrar
Sharpen your pencils; it’s back to school time at OLLI!
To kick off fall term, OLLI is hosting a Wellness Open House from 10:00–1:30 on September 15, with demonstrations on how to stay physically and mentally fit in retirement. Numerous exhibitors will also showcase the fabulous special privileges OLLI members receive from the university and OLLI partners.
TA-1 will feature “back to back to back” demonstrations on wellness, diet, and exercise by Mason’s Center for Well Being, Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, and Recreation and Athletic Complex. Nearby in the Annex and TA-3, Lorton Workhouse artists will showcase various painting techniques, 3D design, and photography.
If you need a break from demos, a score of exhibitors are ready in TA‑3 to share information on special OLLI member benefits. Participants include AARP; Reston Community Center; Lorton Workhouse; and Mason’s fine arts center, library, recreational staff, and travel office. Learn more about opportunities and resources for retirees at the tables of Volunteer Fairfax and the Area Agency on Aging, or browse the exciting program offerings at the Fall for the Book.
To get ahead of the game, sign up for your flu shot via the following link and get vaccinated at the Open House (TA-2): https://olli.gmu.edu/signup-for-olli-flu-clinic/. Spaces are limited. Visit county election officials at the picnic table and register to vote or to work the polling stations in November.
Exhausted from all of the information and fun? Pick up some lunch at a food truck and collapse at a picnic table, enjoying the sweet sounds of the Mason jazz ensemble.
Seem like a great way to kick off the new term?! Bring a friend or neighbor to share the experience and learn the many wonders of OLLI. Happy fall term!
Inside OLLI-MasonMeet Paul Van Hemel, OLLI E-News Chief Editor OLLI E-News is one of those things that grows on you. When I first joined OLLI in 2010, the E‑News stood out for me as a very professional and colorful weekly digest that served as a handy means for keeping up with all the activities and events that make our institute the vibrant organization that it is. As I began settling in as an OLLI member, I soon attended some meetings of what was then the communications committee, which was the home of the E‑News.
Eventually, I became involved as an E‑News staff writer, authoring occasional articles and slowly coming to realize the dedication and commitment of Rod Zumbro, its creator and first editor. When Rod eventually stepped down as editor, having produced an edition virtually every week for an incredible eight years, I volunteered as one of a handful of weekly editors to assist first Gordon Canyock and then Irene Osterman who kept the E‑News going. Finally, this year I allowed Irene to talk me into accepting the position of chief editor, although I enjoy editing an individual edition and continue to do so periodically as one of the team dedicated to maintaining this vital communications link. See the listing of the editorial staff in the "About OLLI E‑News" section at the end of this and every edition.
My interest in managing E‑News editorial efforts and related work evolved based on a long career in behavioral research and applied engineering psychology for the government and private contractors. The preparation of research reports, proposals, technical publications, and related documents was a major part of my professional existence. Creating and refining such documentation in pursuit of a quality finished product is a compulsion that can be both a curse and a curious source of satisfaction. Perhaps that is what led me to serve as photo editor for The Story of OLLI, a history of OLLI at Mason for our 25th anniversary.
One of the things I hope to see as editor of the E‑News is more members' photos of activities and events. Get your shutters clicking!
Lynda.com: A Free Learning Resource For OLLI Members By Stan Schretter, Board Member and
Photography InstructorIn my summer 2016 photography class, I used several videos from Lynda.com to replace lectures that I would otherwise present. While this worked fine and students could review classroom material again at home, I felt that OLLI classroom videos would be better used as a supplement rather than a replacement of live teacher interaction. For fall term, in continuing to teach photography I will use Lynda.com videos as “homework,” e.g., as pre-class introductions and/or post-class review. This brief article provides a brief introduction to Lynda.com.
Mason has partnered with Lynda.com (http://lynda.gmu.edu) to provide free and unlimited online training to Mason students, faculty, staff, and affiliates like OLLI. Lynda.com provides an online subscription library which offers more than 2,000 videos on a broad range of subjects. New courses are added weekly. Access the Lynda.com library 24/7—even from your iPhone, iPad, Android device, or mobile phone—using your Mason NetID and Patriot Pass password. (See next article.)
The quality of Lynda.com's videos is impressive. The large screen player has a few tabs below it for course details, course transcript, FAQs, and my notes. The transcript tab often has the full text of the video, and highlights a few of the presented words at a time, an amazingly help for following the speaker.
Lynda.com lets you create customized playlists with segments arranged the way you want. You can watch the same videos as many times as needed, any time, wherever you have an Internet connection and appropriate video-streaming. You can even download videos to a mobile device to watch offline. If you're a person who needs a live instructor to answer your precise questions, Lynda.com might not offer enough for you.
The caveat? You cannot enjoy any of these advantages without a George Mason ID Number (G Number) and a photo ID.
Get the ball rolling today by filling out a G Number application, which can be downloaded from the OLLI website: click G Number application here. The entire process takes just a few weeks and can be accomplished before fall term so you can get a leg up on library or Lynda.com readings for upcoming OLLI classes.
For more details on obtaining a G Number and Mason ID, contact the OLLI office: 703-503-3384.
By Alice Slayton Clark, Communications Associate/Registrar
Fall for the Book (FFTB) is just around the corner and OLLI is again sponsoring and facilitating its fabulous programs.
The festival showcases over 150 celebrated authors, with special honors provided to beloved PBS radio host and author Diane Rehm, who will receive the Mason Award for “extraordinary contribution to connecting literature to the wide reading public.” It will also award Sandra Cisneros the Fairfax Prize for her literary achievements, including The House on Mango Street, a work detailing life experiences of Latino families in the United States.
OLLI is proud to host or provide transit from campus to the following FFTB sessions:
952 Diane Rehm (bus from Tallwood to Mason Center for the Arts)
954 Kate Andersen Brower, First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies (Lord of Life Lutheran Church, Fairfax)
955 James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom (bus from Tallwood to Mason’s Harris Theater)
958 Donna Gunn, Discoveries from the Fortepiano (Tallwood)
Though not hosting, OLLI also is highlighting key events that may be of particular interest to members:
951 Edith Maxwell, Mystery, Loudoun County (Cascades Library)
953 Timothy Jorgensen, Strange Glow: The Story of Radiation (Patrick Henry Library)
956 Claudia Kalb, Andy Warhol was a Hoarder (City of Fairfax Regional Library)
957 Billy Collins (Reston Community Center).
Sign up for these offerings via the member portal. For more information, including a full list of participating authors, visit the following website: http://fallforthebook.org.
The festival runs September 25–30, so get your tickets now! All events are free and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
You can also view a video of an American Association of University Women program on FFTB led by Executive Director Jennifer Disano via the following link: http://youtu.be/M3RAVc2C29A.
How many of us remember the 5th Dimension’s lively 1968 song, Up, Up and Away in My Beautiful Balloon? It was then that I, and perhaps many others, put a trip in a hot air balloon in my Bucket List.
On Friday, August 19, 19 members of the OLLI Photo Club and friends spent the afternoon on the ground or in the air photographing hot air balloons floating lazily over the rolling Virginia landscape in Bealeton, Virginia . . . and checking off that Bucket List item.
As we watched the balloons first being partially inflated with natural air by huge fans, we learned the balloons are made of fire-resistant nylon, which is light but holds air well. Many are expensive, ranging from an average of $20,000 to many thousands of dollars for specialty balloons, although they can be purchased pre-owned at more reasonable cost. After the balloons were partially inflated, the attached burners were ignited, which quickly raised the balloons to their standing levels and gave them their lift. “It’s quite an amazing thing to see these huge ‘creatures’ grow and slowly lift off into the sky . . . and then to be on one,” said Angie Talaber, Photo Club coordinator.
As the balloons floated around the area, vintage airplanes from the Bealeton Flying Circus flew around, giving additional photo opportunities. While balloons have no directional control other than up and down, a skilled captain can move in a particular direction by ascending or descending to different wind currents.
After we made our final descent in an open field, our chase vehicle came to retrieve us, load the equipment, and head back to the Bealeton staging area.
The trip was arranged by Ed Marion. There were lots of photos taken both on the ground and in the air. Many of these have been posted to the OLLI Photo Club website here.
The Tallwood Book Club will meet on Wednesday, September 14, at 10:00 at Tallwood. The book for discussion is Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About People Looking at People Looking at Animals in America by Jon Mooallem. It is a discussion of the efforts of environmentalists, conservationists, and volunteers to save our wilderness and endangered species. The book is this year's choice for MasonReads. For more information about MasonReads go to masonreads.gmu.edu. The author will be speaking at Mason's Fall for the Book on Thursday, September 29, from 4:30—6:00 at the Concert Hall at the Center for the Arts. All OLLI members are welcome.
The selection for October is Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Michael J. Coyne, OLLI member since 1999, died August 25, 2016. His fellow members will remember him for his intellect and the pleasure he derived from discussions on Proust and The New Yorker Round Table. He served on the Board of Directors from 2001–2004. Among OLLI's most talented technical volunteers, Michael was also our third and longest-serving webmaster (six years, 2003–2009)—a most important volunteer position.
An Open Letter to the OLLI Board on the OLLI Dues Increase
Dear Editor,The fee increase to $425 equates to about a 3.7% annual increase since we joined in 2004. Then, the 600+ OLLI members paid $270.00/year. Since the OSHER grants, we’ve entered a spiral of increasing size. Membership is now over 1,200; necessitating increasing classroom rental, equipment & other costs. We’re told that without a 4% membership increase, a further fee increase will be considered.
We’re asked to reach out to Northern Virginia to grow OLLI. I ask the Board to strive to constrain growth so fee escalation does not exceed the annual U.S inflation rate; instead of focusing on a never ending expansion spiral.
I’ve spoken with a prior member who abandoned OLLI for the Lifetime Learning Institute of Northern Virginia, which is affiliated with the Northern Virginia Community College. Located about 4 miles from Tallwood, it has a $110 annual fee. I’m considering following that path.
I wonder if the overriding growth emphasis and resulting cost increases will ever end.
Response from OLLI President Ray Beery
Thank you for writing a letter to the E-News Editor, and passing it to the Board. You have valid concerns and questions about the upcoming increase in annual dues.
You are an OLLI-Vol of long standing with a sterling list of accomplishments. You have paid your dues faithfully, but the value of your talent and effort is even more valuable, many fold. So, when you speak, I listen. Let me try to give you a useful response.
The Finance Committee and Executive Director took a long, careful look at our projected income and expenses for 2017 and found that we just have to boost income. The Board agrees. I could give you comparative year-over-year budgets to show just where we are in trouble, but I don’t think you want that. It’s available for the asking.
We are operating a professional non-profit corporation that serves 1,200 members and cooperates in many ways with the University. Few among us would want to return to the days of scrambling for volunteer hours to put our program together and house it in suitable classrooms. Professionalism requires paid staff, and that is where we need more money right now. Coupled with inevitable higher rent for space, we have the situation that
requires more dues.
Dan, I hope you and others who are still concerned will attend Finance Committee and Board meetings where you will get any details you may want.
Performances, Sep 2 through Sep 19By Shelly Gersten, OLLI E-News Staff WriterFor tickets for either Center for the Arts (CFA) or Hylton, call 1-888-945-2468, buy tickets online through the event calendar (see links below), or visit the venue's box office. For more information, see the CFA ticket pageor the Hyltonticket purchase page.
At the Fairfax Campus Venues Washington Sorichung
Sat, Sep 3, 6:30
Admission: $30.Keyboard Conversations with Jeffrey Siegel: Fiesta!
Sun, Sep 18, 7:00
Admission: $42, $36, $25.
Mason Student & Faculty Performances
(see music.gmu.edu for additional student recitals)
Grand Piano Celebration
Sun, Sep 18, 3:00
Featuring the artistry of Dr. Linda Apple Monson, pianist, in collaboration with Mason faculty colleagues: Dr. Anna Balakerskaia, pianist; Prof. Lisa Berger, soprano; Prof. Seong Won Nam, tenor; Guest Artist Zino Bogachek, violin; and outstanding student piano artists.
Proceeds support student scholarships for Mason's School of Music.
Admission: Adults, $20; seniors, $15.
At the Hylton CenterCourtney Shelton Solo Exhibition, Best in Show,
Honoring the Future: Climate Art & Action
Aug 29–Oct 2
Buchanan Partners Art Gallery
This exhibition presents photographs of the work of pioneers who are using art as a catalyst for creative solutions to climate change. The Gallery is open to the public Tue–Sat, 10:00–6:00, Thu, 10:00–8:00 and two hours before performances.
Gallery Reception: Thu, Sep 8 from 6 :00–8:00.
RSVP is required. RSVP to email@example.com.
Arts Alive! 2016
Sat, Sep 17, 12:00
Featuring Arts Council members and other community performers and fine artists. Multiple stages of performances indoors and out, plus food and craft vendors.
The Capitol Steps: What to Expect When You're Electing
Sun, Sep 18, 7:00
Pre-performance discussion: Member of the company.
Admission: $46, $39, $28.
The following list covering the next two weeks is extracted for your convenience from the master online calendar maintained by the office, with direct web links added when available. The list is accurate as of mid-week but to check anytime for the latest information, please view the latest forecast of upcoming 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, kickoff coffees, etc. (bolded below).
Tue Sep 6
Annex Art–Lord of Life Fairfax Fellowship Hall
Wed Sep 7
Bridge Club–Lord of Life Fairfax
Mah Jongg Club–Lord of Life Fairfax
Tom Crooker Investment Forum–Lord of Life Sanctuary
Fri Sep 9
Photography Club–Lord of Life Fairfax Youth Room
Craft and Conversation–Lord of Life Fairfax Conference Room
Recorder Consort–Lord of Life Fairfax Sanctuary
Homer, etc–Lord of Life Fairfax Parlor
Religious Studies Club–Lord of Life Fairfax Conference Room
Sat Sep 10
Tai Chi Club–TA-3
Mon Sep 12
What’s in the Daily News, cont’d–TA-1
Tue Sep 13
Wed Sep 14
Tom Crooker Investment Forum–TA-1
Fri Sep 16
Craft and Conversation–Annex Board of Directors Meeting–TA-1
OLLI E-News was created by Rod Zumbro, who served as its editor from 2005 to 2013.
Chief Editor: Paul Van Hemel
Technical Editor: Irene Osterman
Associate Editor: Sheri Siesseger
Weekly Editorial Team: Jean Boltz, John Nash, Sheri Siesseger, Leslie Vandivere,
Paul Van Hemel Proofreaders: Rebecca Jann, Lorna Moran, Marilyn O'Brien, Susan Van Hemel
Backup Chief Editor: Alice Slayton Clark
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: firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline – 6:00 Tuesday for that week's issue (6:00 Monday for letters to the editor); early submissions are greatly appreciated. Please limit articles to about 250 words. Note: You can view past issues of OLLI E-News on the DocStore. To search the content of issues, use Search Our Site or put your search term in Google followed by "site:olli.gmu.edu/" without the quotes.