By Jamie Lou Hawthorne (Photo by Tim Hanger)

If you ever want to gain the attention of friends, tell them that you are a member of the Osher Institute. This will immediately spark their interest because they normally confuse Osher with OSHA (the Occupational, Safety and Health Administration). Once you’ve finished clearing up the confusion, you can seize the opportunity to enlighten them about the virtues and benefits of lifelong learning through the Osher program.

I began to spread the word about Osher soon after joining. I was so enthusiastic about finding a way to satisfy my unquenchable learning needs and meet new friends that it was easy to promote the idea of membership. I took catalogs to luncheons, dinners, bridge games, the YMCA, and any other place where there would be folks who might be interested. Friends, in turn, passed on the information to their friends. This not only generated membership in the program but led to suggestions for program leaders as well.

After joining the Curriculum and Membership Teams I gained even more confidence in recruiting members and class leaders. I now felt a degree of ownership in the Institute which passively sitting in classes had not given me. I became more proactive in finding ways to create new classes. I asked fellow students to consider leading a class in their special interest or pastime, class leaders to carry over their class topic into an Interest Group, and non-Osher friends to recommend leaders and lecturers from other programs to which they belong.

So no, it’s not OSHA. But let me share with you what OSHER is!