Volunteering! It’s what we do! As a membership organization, OLLI prospers because of active and ongoing volunteer support—both from members and from those who graciously share their expertise by teaching OLLI courses.

Member Volunteers

As a membership organization, our volunteers are central to everything we do. When members infuse OLLI with their professional knowledge, budding talents, and endless enthusiasm and creativity, they not only help the Institute hum along in its day-to-day operations, they also ensure the Institute remains relevant into the future.

Service to OLLI

Here are a few of the tried-and-true roles members play in their volunteer service to OLLI.

  • Course leaders are key to the success of OLLI courses. Many courses are led by OLLI members who have professional expertise or an intense interest in a particular subject. While many course leaders have established backgrounds in a discipline, this is not necessary. Even if you don’t have professional teaching experience, we welcome course proposals from members who would like to bring a topic to life. Training is available. Interested? You can learn more at Teach for OLLI.
  • Course assistants are frontline ambassadors in the OLLI classroom, whether in person or online. They welcome learners to class and navigate logistical details so the course leader can focus on teaching without distraction. Some course assistants play a larger role by acting as a co-instructor. Course assistants are needed for in-person and online courses alike. As with course leaders, training is available.

  • Special Interest Group (SIG) leaders are charged with running their group and following the guidance of the SIG coordinator. Leaders determine meeting times, frequency of meetings, and where the meetings will take place. They also handle communications with the group and work with group members on the successful management of the group. Members: learn more about joining or starting a SIG!
  • Advisory Board members advance OLLI’s mission, vision, and values. The Board also promotes the sustainability and success of the Institute by providing advice, active involvement, advocacy, and support to the OLLI director.
  • Committee members help OLLI with important functions, such as curriculum development, member engagement, outreach, events, and planning. Committees are led by a chairperson (or persons) and are instrumental in shaping the OLLI experience for members.
  • OLLI ambassadors help spread the word about the value of OLLI by leading presentations and speaking at community events. Enjoy public speaking? Consider becoming an ambassador! Past events include presentations for senior communities, rotary clubs, and corporate employee and retirement groups. We provide the visual presentation and talking points—you share your passion for OLLI.

Service to the Community

OLLI members also use their time in support of the University of Minnesota, OLLI’s host institution, and a variety of affiliated organizations and causes. Members learn about these opportunities through the biweekly publication, the Up-to-Dater.

In addition, OLLI partners with the University Retirees Volunteer Center, a well-known volunteer referral service for University departments and community organizations.

Nonmember Volunteers

Because OLLI benefits from and encourages member involvement, the majority of volunteers come from the OLLI community.

However, OLLI welcomes nonmembers who volunteer to teach for OLLI and add to the Institute's talented cadre of course leaders. These include University of Minnesota faculty, researchers, and graduate students, as well as faculty from other colleges and universities, authors, community leaders, and every so often, course leaders from other Osher Institutes.

If you are interested in teaching for OLLI and are not a member, you can learn more at Teach for OLLI.