Age-Friendly University (AFU)
Since its inception, the Fuss Center has advocated for the value of intergenerational exchange and the critical need for institutions of higher education to further aging education and enhance educational opportunities for an increasingly older and age diverse population.
In September 2015, the Fuss Center was pleased to announce that Lasell College, home to Lasell Village, was the first Massachusetts college to join the Age-Friendly University Initiative. Lasell College has strengthened its commitment to intergenerational exchange and lifelong learning by joining this international effort led by leaders at Dublin City University to highlight the role higher education can play in responding to the challenges and opportunities associated with an aging population. Launched in 2012 by Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Dublin City University (DCU) President Brian MacCraith, the initiative involves several colleges and universities internationally including Arizona State University and Strathclyde University in Scotland.
Communities local and globally are responding to the call for more age-friendly living environments that better reflect our contemporary aging population. A critical component that has been missing in these efforts is the involvement of higher education. By joining the initiative, the Fuss Center, Lasell College and Lasell Village can raise awareness and educate the undergraduate population about aging issues and build curriculum to support an increasing age-diverse population. The principles also provide a guiding framework to broaden opportunities for older learners to access higher education in their pursuit of life-long learning.
The AFU Principles reflect efforts that are in motion or percolating at other institutions in Massachusetts, and it is hoped that Lasell's endorsement of the Age-Friendly University (AFU) Principles will serve as a catalyst for other institutions to reflect on how they can be more age-friendly.
The 10 Age-Friendly University Principles are:
- To encourage the participation of older adults in all the core activities of the university, including educational and research programs.
- To promote personal and career development in the second half of life and to support those who wish to pursue second careers.
- To recognize the range of educational needs of older adults (from those who were early school-leavers through to those who wish to pursue Master's or PhD qualifications).
- To promote intergenerational learning to facilitate the reciprocal sharing of expertise between learners of all ages.
- To widen access to online educational opportunities for older adults to ensure a diversity of routes to participation.
- To ensure that the university's research agenda is informed by the needs of an ageing society and to promote public discourse on how higher education can better respond to the varied interests and needs of older adults.
- To increase the understanding of students of the longevity dividend and the increasing complexity and richness that aging brings to our society.
- To enhance access for older adults to the university's range of health and wellness programs and its arts and cultural activities.
- To engage actively with the university's own retired community.
- To ensure regular dialogue with organizations representing the interests of the aging population.
For more information about the Age Friendly University Initiative, visit the following website: https://www4.dcu.ie/agefriendly/index.shtml