Recent research indicates that there is a disconnect between beliefs about aging and the reality of the lived experience in older adulthood. We have too few interactions with members of different generations and as a result limited opportunity to teach and learn from each other. The Center aims to facilitate and offer experiences that connect generations.

We are developing a series of courses to introduce students to their own aging and to the lived experience of older adulthood through a Penn State Strategic Plan seed grant:

Digital Media and Social Practice (COMM or AA 297) – Students learn how to make a positive impact on social issues (e.g. ageism) using a variety of media delivery channels.

Perspectives on Aging/Lighter As We Go (HDFS 497) – Students partner with older adult community members and together, through facilitated conversation and activities, explore the experience of growing-up, family, aging, well-being and more.

Art & Science of Healthy Aging (Coming Spring 2021; HHD or AA 197 Integrative Study course) – This course integrates science and art themes including, mindfulness, compassion, healthy aging and arts-based practices. Students will use scientific conceptual knowledge, artful experiential insight, and practical application skills for expanded understanding of themselves and building meaningful relationships with others across generations.

We partner with Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Penn State and other community organizations to offer intergenerational learning opportunities. A variety of courses may be attended and vary with campus and semester. Visit the OLLI website to learn about coming intergenerational opportunities. These courses are available at University Park, York, and Altoona (coming soon) campuses:

Teaming Up: Skills for Navigating a Multigenerational World (Spring semester) –Our workforce and communities are becoming more age diverse than ever before. In this 6 week course we examine those changes and identify skills needed to be effective working and living in multigenerational settings. OLLI members with professional experience assist students by offering coaching to students practicing strategies to expand communication, problem solving, and collaboration skills.

Lighter As We Go (Fall semester) – is a semester-long commitment (with some flexible components). Alongside Penn State undergraduate students, spend the fall semester discussing current research on happiness, aging, and well-being. Together in intergenerational small groups we will compare experiences on what it means to grow as a human being, how to form habits to help us become the person we would like to be, and how to help others do the same.

The Center partners with the Penn State Extension Intergenerational Program to offer opportunities to students and community members to work, learn, and play together. The program provides leadership and resource support for organizations interested in developing intergenerational programs and activities that enrich people's lives and help address social and community issues.

Learn more about the Intergenerational Leadership Institute (ILI) and other community activities here .