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ElderCollege marks 30 years of education on the central Island

Registration open for Vancouver Island University continuing education classes
Registration is open for VIU’s ElderCollege continuing education courses. (News Bulletin file photo)

One is never too old, or too cool, for school.

Vancouver Island University is celebrating 30 years of offering university-style courses for those who are 50-plus and have a love of learning though its VIU ElderCollege, an adjunct program of VIU.

“I am sure all of us, the volunteers plus the administration staff, are proud to be part of this,” said Anne-Marie Lafleur, who sits on the volunteer board of directors. “We can rightfully feel a sense of achievement and satisfaction about being part of a program that has been running for 30 years.”

Registration for the fall session began Sept. 5 and is still open for its completely community-based and volunteer driven program with 78 courses to choose from, 38 of which are online. VIU ElderCollege transitioned to online learning during the pandemic, and some students never looked back, preferring it over being in a traditional classroom. The courses have even attracted international students from locations as far away as the U.K. and Brazil. Those wishing to register can either visit one of the VIU campuses, call 1-866-734-6252 or visit for a list of the courses being offered.

“I am a great believer in continuing education and personally am so grateful that VIU ElderCollege exists,” said Lafleur. “I have taken such fascinating courses, and met so many interesting people.”

One of Lafleur’s friends who is now 95 has taken 99 courses to date, and even participated via Zoom during COVID.

There is no deadline to register. Popular courses may fill up quickly, but potential students have the option to be put on a waiting list.

With climate change and wildfires on the rise, those who felt emotionally impacted by the devastation may want to enroll in the course Are You Ready for the Next Emergency? taught by VIU ElderCollege chairperson Ross Peterson. Other online courses include Cannabis Education for Seniors; Reconciliation Before Its Time; Finding Your Artist’s Centre; and Understanding Fear and Its Effects on Humanity. The Saturday Speakers series will also continue this fall which offers two-hour Saturday morning presentations that are open to the general public, the fall session’s theme is Taking Individual Action on Climate Change. Lindsay McCunn will give the first presentation on Sept. 9 and those interested can either attend via Zoom or in person at the Parksville campus. McCunn will be talking about Environmental Psychology, Climate Change and the Benefits of Nature.

VIU Elder College has its perks including tuition fees being set at cost-recovery due to all the program’s directors and instructors being volunteers.

Students receive a complimentary one-time admission to Milner Gardens, a discount on admission to the Deep Bay Marine Field Station and use of the VIU Library and other facilities. Learning doesn’t have to stop as people age as there are always opportunities to step out of comfort zones and stretch one’s mind.

“Its all about having an active mind and giving others the opportunity to learn about something or explore a topic of interest,” said Lafleur. “My hope is that new VIU ElderCollege students come away feeling stimulated, inspired, intrigued, and motivated to take more courses.”

READ ALSO: Registration underway for VIU ElderCollege’s 30th-anniversary school year

About the Author: Chadd Cawson

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