Message from our President
Hard to believe it is February already. January was a busy month with new classes beginning, continued planning for the upcoming year, and the fervent hope that the pandemic would show signs of slowing down. While new strains of the virus have been reported, I hear from more and more people that they have received the vaccine or are scheduled to do so very shortly. Here’s hoping that by spring we will all have been vaccinated and that we can begin to contemplate a return to some normalcy by fall.
Winterim classes are well underway with good turnout and attendance. There are still openings in some classes beginning later this month so check the Senior College website. I am personally looking forward to several more classes this session. I am enjoying immensely learning to write and love poetry again, plotting a great novel, really understanding climate change, after having gained a renewed appreciation for the work of Eliot Porter. It is amazing to me what I learn every time I show up for a Senior College course thanks to the hard working members of the Curriculum Committee. Deirdre Good and the group are busy now putting together exciting and inviting Spring courses. Needless to say they would welcome your input or even better your willingness to teach a course.
The Corona Chronicles are enjoyed by many and I urge all of you to consider sending us an article, poem, photograph, book, movie, or music review, original artwork, recipe, recommendations for virtual travel to museums, etc. to share with your fellow members. Back issues are posted online if you missed an issue or you just want to read that poem one more time. Send anything you wish to share to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Janet Williams (email@example.com).
Speaking of Janet Williams, don’t miss the Belfast Garden Club’s member spotlight this month featuring our Senior College Newsletter and Corona Chronicles editor herself. To read about Janet visit belfastgardenclub.org.
Finally, February is Valentine’s month, a wonderful time to celebrate and thank those who have given their time and talent to benefit others. Senior College has, over the years, been the beneficiary of the work of many dedicated individuals who assured this organization would continue to fulfil its mission. Not too long ago I learned that a very special volunteer is finally leaving Belfast for her new home in Scarborough. I have associated Barbara Klie with Senior College since I first walked through the doors of the Hutch. There sat Barbara at a table with the offer to help and she promptly directed me to my first class. Later when I joined the Curriculum Committee I realized that Barbara served as the unofficial secretary of the committee and it was her recording of the proceedings that assured we followed through on contacts for classes. Barbara has been a stalwart member of the Curriculum Committee for a number of years, an attendee of many classes, as well as a two-term member of the Board of Directors. She has dedicated her time, energy, and good will to Senior College Belfast and she will be greatly missed by all who have taken a class, taught a class or just been a part of this endeavor. Thank you and Godspeed, Barbara!
Tidbit from the Treasurer
The Belfast Senior College has weathered the COVID -19 storm far better than we ever imagined. Our finances are strong because many from previous years renewed their memberships and we’ve gained lots of new first time members as well. We are beating our budget numbers and operating with a small profit. As Treasurer of the college I chair the Finance Committee, a wonderful group of volunteers who perform regular oversight of the college’s finances and who provide input into the annual budget creation process. If you are interested in stepping behind the scenes to learn how the college operates from a business standpoint, please consider joining our committee. There are generally four meetings of this committee each year, roughly corresponding with each quarter end. Members with business or finance acumen are especially sought, but this is not a requirement.
Belfast Senior College Curriculum Committee has been busy planning the online Spring Semester with an array of history, literature, politics, and general interest courses plus Brown Bag lunches. Taking any (or many) of them will enrich your Spring and our collective experience of isolating in a pandemic. For me, online learning has been the salve to this challenge, and I am so grateful to instructors and participants who are eager and willing to contribute teaching and learning.
Senior College shares class with local high schools
Throughout its twenty year history, Senior College of Belfast has been fortunate to have as a resource a dedicated talent pool of extremely qualified instructors. Selflessly giving their time and talents they have made the college an integral part of the Waldo County community. This January one of our instructors is sharing her insights not only with Senior College members, but also Camden Conference attendees and some local high schools. Dr. Susan Conard is presenting a course entitled “What Is Happening To Northern Climates.” Changing climate has been described by some as the greatest existential threat facing our country and the world. If we are to meet that threat, then we must first understand the problem. Everyone, no matter what age, has to participate in the solution. That is why we are so pleased to have local high schools involved in this course.
We have science students from two high schools participating with us in Dr Conard’s class: Belfast High School, and the Ecology Learning Center in Unity, Maine. The Ecology Learning Center is a wonderful new charter school with a mission to develop students who enact and embody ecological principles by making meaningful connections between school and community through service learning and apprenticeships.
This Winter, once a week, these High School students join a virtual Senior College class with fellow students who are easily three, four and even five times older than they. It’s a class, however, where ages melt and merge. Everyone is driven by a common purpose of learning all they can about the science of changing climate and how they can help to meet the challenge of climate change in a fragile world.
Following are a few thoughts from some students of the Ecology Learning Center. They express so completely the concern and strong desire of talented young students to learn and be a part of the solution to the Global Climate issue.
“I think the class is very informational and it’s great that we are learning about this climate crisis that is affecting us and what we can do to help. I’m very thankful for this opportunity to participate in this class.”
“I’m so glad that we have the opportunity to take this class. It’s so nice to get information about climate change outside of the news. I’ve never really understood the intricacies of climate change, just that it exists. This class has been super helpful and informative. I find it a very interesting experience. I think that overall the class is good, but I will say that some of the terms need more explanation.”
“I’ve enjoyed attending the northern climate course, for I have learned a great deal about this topic. I had no idea that there was a quicker warming route in the north due to more land mass than the south. Before this course, I knew the biggest problems, but not all the little things causing global climate warming.”
“I am super excited to be attending this course! It has opened up a vast number of opportunities for me. Each lesson I can actively engage in the material and my knowledge on climate change has expanded hugely. I have been able to apply my studies outside of the class whether that be in art projects, or other classes.”