July 23, 2007

Off-campus classes deliver University services to the community

“Got Chocoloate?” is one of several classes being offered through Sacramento State at regional senior centers.
You don’t have to cometo the Sacramento State campus to take one of its courses. Many adult classes are available at centers elsewhere in the community. The Osher Lifelong Learning Program, a package of courses aimed primarily at people age 50 and older, is offering a series of classes that are fun, stimulate the mind, and may even be life saving.

Osher is a nationwide, grant-funded program offered at Sacramento State through the College of Continuing Education. Because of classroom constraints, the program had to branch out from its rooms in Napa Hall and sought collaboration with regional senior centers, program manager Amy Ruddell says.

From September through December classes will be held at the Folsom Senior Center, the West Sacramento Senior Center, and the E.M. Hart Senior Center in Sacramento.

The expansion is already paying off. “Our enrollments have expanded from about 100 to close to 550 this semester,” Ruddell says.

Upcoming classes include the Chinese tile game mah-jongg, Tai Chi, self defense for seniors, writing children’s literature, conversational French and meditation techniques.

Another fall 2007 offering is “Got Chocolate?” an exploration of the history, lure and lore of the sweet, dark candy conducted by archeological botanist Kirsten Tripplett.

First used by the Mayans, chocolate was taken back to Europe by the Spaniards where Spanish chefs added sugar, cinnamon and other spices and carefully guarded their recipe from the French and Italians, who were eager to get their hands on it, Triplett says. “There were numerous attempts to steal the recipe,” she says. “They had food spies.”

Participants will learn about chocolate’s history, do some taste testing, and tour a chocolate manufacturing plant.

Even though the Osher courses are geared to those over the age of 50, Ruddell hopes 40-year-olds also will find them appealing, and points out that these classes are fun for adults and their parents to take together.

Registration for Folsom classes is being handled by the Senior Center. Call (916) 355-7285 for dates, times and pricing. To register for West Sacramento classes or find other locations with Osher courses, call Ruddell at the College of Continuing Education at (916) 278-4433.

For more information on the program, visit www.cce.csus.edu/osher. For media assistance, call Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.