Prior to college, a student’s peers are largely determined by the school district in which they live and the year they were born.In contrast, a university typically offers more diversity. Students represent an array of experiences from different cultures, various locations and, sometimes, different eras.Though many students at USU grew up listening to Britney Spears, watching Power Rangers and wearing tech vests from Old Navy, a smaller demographic experienced childhood during World War II, the golden age of radio and the debut of television.A portion of these seasoned students meet together every Wednesday as part of Senior University, an education program for senior citizens offered through the USU Service Learning Center.”No other school in Utah has a program to help senior citizens like Senior University,” said Chelsea Bowman, a senior majoring in social work who directed the program last year.The Senior University program began six years ago under the direction of Melissa Nuntapreda, a Service Learning Scholar who said she wanted to provide continued education for elderly adults in Cache Valley.”Most senior citizens are retired and spend a lot of time at home,” Bowman said. “It’s great to get them out of the house, offer different lessons and let them socialize with other people their age.”Dinna Freeman, 75, and Elizabeth Erni, 87, were among the first students to attend the Senior University classes when the program began in 2007.”I think it is really important to stimulate your brain and to keep up on all of the new technology,” said Freeman, who walks to and from her home in the Island Neighborhood each Wednesday for class. “I’ve really benefited and I admire the professors that come and give their time toward us seniors.”Since joining five years ago, Freeman has witnessed both the growth of the program as well as the leadership of multiple directors.
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