The new Sages and Seekers Program at the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus is a groundbreaking initiative that brings together seniors and young adults in a unique intergenerational learning experience.
Members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus (adults 50+) are partnered with CSUSB communication studies students for an eight-week program, which aims to foster meaningful connections and bridge the generation gap by creating opportunities for mutual understanding and personal growth.
The Sages and Seekers Program, which was spearheaded by communication studies lecturer, Bob Leo, and communication studies graduate student, Amanda Reigle, pairs experienced seniors, the “Sages,” with curious young adults, the “Seekers,” in a structured and supportive environment. Through one-on-one interactions, group discussions and collaborative activities, participants engage in enriching conversations, share life experiences and learn from each other. This innovative program not only encourages the exchange of knowledge, but also promotes empathy, respect and appreciation for different perspectives.
“We are excited to launch the Sages and Seekers Program at the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus, which embodies our commitment to building strong, interconnected communities,” said Angela Allen, OLLI director. “By fostering relationships between generations, we hope to create a supportive environment where wisdom is shared, stories are celebrated and lifelong friendships are formed.”
The Sages and Seekers Program benefits both seniors and young adults by providing a platform to learn from each other, develop new skills and combat social isolation. Seniors have the opportunity to pass down their knowledge and life lessons, while young adults gain valuable insights and mentorship from those with a wealth of experience.
Many of the issues both CSUSB students and older adults deal with are mutual in nature, even though they seem miles apart. Both generations are searching for meaning and relevance; fighting feelings of loneliness, and many of “not fitting in” or being marginalized; and issues around independence, self-determination and currency in the world.
OLLI’s pilot eight-week program is a unique opportunity to bridge the age gap and be part of the intergenerational awakening that is currently underway across America. Designed after the successful national Sages and Seekers program, CSUSB’s OLLI program is the first Osher Institute in the U.S. to include Sages and Seekers in their program curriculum.
Sages and Seekers expressed their enthusiasm for the program.
“I’m impressed with the level of conversations I have had with my Seeker,” said one Sage. “This experience has given me hope in the next generation of leaders.”
“Sages and Seekers was a great program that I enjoyed,” said one Seeker. “My ‘Sage’ provided insight on the valuable relationships we can build if we didn’t consider age first. It showed me that a range of people can connect and share common interests.”
The future of the Sages and Seekers Program at the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus is under consideration as various departments are exploring how intergenerational programs such as this can be included in their curriculum.
About PDC: The CSUSB Palm Desert Campus offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees, teaching credentials and certificates, and plays a vital role in educating the region’s growing population.
For more information about the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus, contact Mike Singer in the Office of Strategic Communication at email@example.com or (760) 341-2883, ext. 78107, or visit the PDC website at www.csusb.edu/pdc.