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Join in ... with U3A Murraylands
Helen Elix invites you to enrol in the University of the Third Age and broaden your horizons by learning something new.
On a drizzly Friday afternoon, a group of bright-eyed, bushy-tailed students eagerly face a projector’s screen.
Pen and paper at the ready, they wait for a talk on electronics to begin.
You’re probably picturing a crowd of uni students in a lecture theatre, and you’d be close.
Enter University of the Third Age Murraylands.
U3A Murraylands is a not-for-profit organisation that offers educational courses for people who are over 50, and either retired or semi-retired.
The school has over 300 students and the programs are on every topic imaginable, including art, genealogy, computing and photography, just to name a few.
U3A Murraylands president Helen Elix said she is keen to get those of the “third age” re-engaged with their passions, curiosities and each other.
So, sharpen your pencils and pull out a notebook.
School is in session.
When did you first get involved with U3A?
I was with the ambulance service for 25 years, and then when I left I went to work for council in a part-time role. I was one four people that set up U3A’s original constitution in 2004. That year we had our inaugural committee and then in 2005 we had our first AGM. Then I went back to full-time work, but in our constitution it says you can only work part-time. So I had a bit of a break and now I’m back.
What do you spend your time doing?
We offer over 30 different courses and our lessons are planned out on a semester basis. Some classes are weekly, some fortnightly, some are once-offs. People will put their hand up to be a tutor or leader because of their willingness to share their knowledge and expertise.
Sometimes it’s a case of the chicken or the egg. If we have a number of members saying they would really love to learn about Australian history, and then if it’s not part of our program, we put out an expression of interest and if we have enough students interested, we’ll find a tutor. Or, if we find tutor to teach a class, we then need to find the students, so we’ll put out an expression of interest for students.
What is your fondest memory of your time with U3A?
I think it’s sharing with other people what we have to offer, and the willingness of the tutors and the leaders. I always say: if we don’t have tutors and leaders, we don’t have a U3A. We could have a committee, but without the tutors or leaders we don’t have an organisation. They make up the tapestry, and once that tapestry is all woven together, it creates U3A Murraylands, which we are all proud of.
What is your goal with U3A?
U3A involves those who are working part time or a retired, so it’s really good to help people maintain their physical interests, mental interests, social interests as well as their friendships. It’s a really social atmosphere.
Why should people join U3A?
Instead of being idle at home when being semi-retired or retired is there for you, just tap into what I call community connectedness. When you’re at work, you’d go to the staff room and all your colleagues would be there. When you leave work, you lose that connectedness. At U3A, we offer a different kind of social connection. It’s a friendly group, and you can make a lot of social connections, which is good for mental health. And it’s also good for your health overall because it’ll help you to be more active physically.
If we could show you our list of programs, it’s like a smorgasbord. Someone who is interested in joining should look for something they like within there, and then we’ll go to the next step.
More information: www.u3amurraylands.net.
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