From the President’s Desk. In this report, President Rhonda Weston AM covers a number of topics including the origin and meaning of University of the Third Age, discussion of some of the challenges and benefits of U3A, an update on U3AAA, and a progress report on the international conference celebrating 50 years of U3A worldwide next May in Rockhampton – an event not to be missed.
University of the Third Age – What’s in a Name?
I pose the question about the name of our organization, University of the Third Age: does the word ‘University’ diminish your interest in U3A?
Do you know that in Australia we follow the Cambridge Model of U3A, where “learners teach and teachers learn”.
Do you know that the word university is derived from the Latin universitas magistrorum et scholarium, which roughly means ‘community of teachers and scholars’.
Is that or is that not exactly what U3A is: a community of like- minded people who learn and participate for pleasure and for their own personal growth? At U3A we share our gifts and expertise with our contemporaries in a friendly and welcoming environment.
At Network, we would appreciate your feedback on your thoughts about the perception of the name U3A and University of the Third Age.
U3A Challenges and Benefits
In this post-Covid, technological world we now live in, there are new challenges facing us each and every day: the challenges of continually learning new ways of managing our day-to-day tasks, and the challenges of ensuring that our health and wellbeing and that of our colleagues. These challenges are at the forefront of our thoughts.
Belonging to an organisation such as U3A can alleviate many of our daily concerns and build friendships that will remain strong and positive into the future.
Statewide, Network is moving ahead with great enthusiasm with the Liaison Person program. As I mentioned in our last newsletter, this new initiative has been received with alacrity, and personal visits to 75 per cent of our U3As have already taken place.
U3A Network continues to partner with COTAQ and nbn, with combined promotions such as the enormously successful webinar on ‘Your Digital Legacy’. By popular demand the webinar will be repeated on October 19th. Full details are on our website.
U3A’s National Body
I have recently returned from Bendigo, Victoria where I represented Queensland member U3As at the U3A Australia Alliance meeting, held in conjunction with the U3A Network Victoria State Conference. It is easy for some to forget that U3A is a national and international organisation and not just the one class you attend. The U3AAA have finalised their Constitution and plans are in place to incorporate as a Company Limited by Guarantee.
The U3AAA committee is made up of representatives from each state plus ‘U3A OnLine’. Once incorporated U3AAA will have a stronger voice at the federal level.
As we celebrate Seniors’ Month, many U3As are participating in Seniors Expos and other community events. The promotion of U3A at these events can only benefit our organisation and our membership. Attracting new Tutors is always our greatest challenge.
50th Anniversary of U3A Worldwide
The planning for the International Conference, celebrating 50 years of U3A worldwide and hosted by U3A Rockhampton, is well underway. The celebration is part of our annual U3A Network State Conference and Annual General Meeting.
Information about the conference and associated events is available on the Network and Rockhampton websites. These will be updated regularly with the latest information. Registrations for the conference will open on February 1st.
Information on the annual ‘Art Exhibition’ to be held in conjunction with the conference will also be available on the Network website from November.
Why attend a conference you might ask? The following are responses to this question:
Conferences typically provide special guest speakers, breakout sessions, one-on-one engagements, group outings, and events for social interaction. The learning facet of a conference can expose attendees to new ways of operating and can help them discover ways to be even more productive.
The role of a conference is to gather like-minded individuals from across the country or across the globe, to learn, discuss thoughts, network, share ideas, create new ideas, and to ignite motivation. The benefits of attending a conference are different for everyone.
I look forward to meeting you in Rockhampton in May 2023.
Rhonda Weston AM
U3A Network Queensland