LivelyU Lifelong Learning Academy 2023
LivelyU, a lifelong learning program for older adults, is the result of collaboration between the BGSU Optimal Aging Institute and the Wood County Commission on Aging.

BGSU faculty, students give back to community through LivelyU programming

LivelyU Lifelong Learning Academy 2023
Hannah Koch and Natalie Nieschwitz, BGSU students in the food and nutrition master's program, recently derived a nutrition course as part of the LivelyU program.

Wide variety of lifelong learning courses offered through a partnership between the BGSU Optimal Aging Institute and the Wood County Committee on Aging

By Nick Piotrowicz

A partnership between Bowling Green State University and the Wood County Committee on Aging is bringing expertise from the University directly to lifelong learners in the Bowling Green community.

The LivelyU Lifelong Learning Academy, which pairs the BGSU Optimal Aging Institute with WCCOA, brings a wide variety of continuing education courses to older adults. Each class is taught by local experts, all of whom volunteer their time to direct a course in their chosen content area.

Dr. Vivian Miller, an assistant professor of social work and the director of the Optimal Aging Institute, said the courses are designed to offer something new and interesting to older adults from a broad range of interests.

“LivelyU is an opportunity for adults and older adults to continue lifelong learning through courses delivered by BGSU faculty and staff, community members and other local leaders,” Miller said. “For example, one of our classes this semester is called ‘County Courts’ and is put on by Judge Joel Kuhlman, which is at the courthouse and includes a mock trial. 

“This is our second year offering these courses, and interest from the community has been really great so far.”

Tuition for LivelyU courses is $20 annually.

By collaborating with BGSU faculty, staff, alumni and local community leaders, LivelyU classes appeal to a large number of interests, as courses are available on topics as varied as astronomy, foreign language, creative writing, public health, nutrition, law, controversial issues and many more. 

“We’re trying to reach the entire gamut as far as interests,” said Danielle Brogley, WCCOA director of programming. “Critical thinking and active thinking are really important in all of our classes. A great skill for people to develop, even as they age, is the ability to be open-minded and have a growth mindset that allows you to understand other people’s perspectives.”

Miller said that the program’s community outreach also has allowed BGSU students and faculty to use their expertise to inform the public, in line with the University mission of doing public good. 

The Optimal Aging Institute, which is housed with the College of Health and Human Services, seeks to engage and inform older adults, and Miller said BGSU faculty of all disciplines have been eager to offer their time to the local community. 

“BGSU faculty have been so willing to give their time and expertise to this program that is entirely service-based,” Miller said. “It’s simply an opportunity to serve the community and also to get students involved in doing public good.”

All of the courses, Brogley said, are specifically intended to add value to someone’s life, whether by learning about a new subject or gaining knowledge that can be applied to better everyday living.

“We had a course on mental health, for instance, that I thought was really important, provided good value and can be applied to someone’s own life,” Brogley said. “What these courses do are make you look outside of yourself and have a broader understanding of both yourself and the larger community.”

Interested parties can drop off a $20 tuition payment for LivelyU at the Wood County Commission on Aging at 140 S. Grove St. in Bowling Green or any other Senior Center in Wood County. 

Registration for individual programs can be done by calling WCCOA at 419-353-5661, 800-367-4935 or by emailing  

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Media Contact | Michael Bratton | | 419-372-6349

Updated: 04/07/2023 11:55AM