By Jo-Ellen Unger
Academy for Learning in Retirement, Saratoga Springs, New York

We celebrated New York State Lifelong Learning Week on Friday, September 15th with an ALR Sampler. We had lots of publicity - posters all over town, newspaper articles, radio interviews and public service announcements, etc. We even received a congratulatory letter from Senator Clinton. (She was unable to attend because she was in Washington. The nerve!) We even invited the society columnist of our local newspaper who brought a photographer with her.

It was a wonderful event and a lot of fun. As I introduced each presenter, I told a little bit about how ALR works - the study groups, governance, the social program, special events, our relationship to the college, etc. so the audience had a good "snapshot' of the Academy. We felt it was a wonderful opportunity to publicize our program.

I would urge all other LLIs to contact their state legislatures to designate the month of September 2007 as Lifelong Learning Month in their states. (That is my next project here in New York).
EIN will post a copy of our resolution on their web site for all the programs to use.

I recently discovered that since 1995 the U.S. Congress no longer designates these weeks. (That's probably why I didn't have as much luck getting that through.) Now, these days, weeks and months are designated by Chase's Calendar of Events, a reference book found in most libraries. I checked this out and discovered that group's seeking these designations need to submit their application by April of the preceding year, which means that we've missed the deadline for 2007. Also, these requests must come from "national organizations who use their observances for public outreach and to plan specific events."

Therefore, I'm suggesting that EIN submit an application by next April for September 2008 to be National Lifelong Learning Month, and submit every year after that to keep it. This is how the applications are reviewed:

"Chase's editorial staff includes a special day, month or year in the annual reference based on the authority of the organization observing it, how many years it's been observed, the amount of promotion and activities that are part of it, its uniqueness and a variety of other factors." I think you could make a very good case for Lifelong Learning Week, especially if the various states with LLIs authorize it in 2007.

I think this would be great recognition for LLIs. Being a month long observance, each LLI should have the opportunity to plan at least one special event to celebrate Lifelong Learning in their community. I hope they all take advantage of this great opportunity to publicize their programs and lifelong learning.

To read all about this exciting concept please visit www.esc.edu/alr and click on Lifelong Learning Week.







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