Wabash Area Lifetime Learning Association 30th anniversary

Purdue & the Office of Engagement are celebrating 30 years of providing lifelong learning programs through the Wabash Area Lifetime Learning Association (WALLA).

Purdue is celebrating 30 years of providing lifelong learning programs through one of the Office of Engagement at Purdue University‘s signature programs, the Wabash Area Lifetime Learning Association (WALLA).

For three decades, the nonprofit has offered affordable classes and learning experiences for individuals over the age of 50 in Tippecanoe County and surrounding communities. Better yet, the classes are “strictly for fun,” says Mary Gardner, Purdue Staff Engagement Award winner, WALLA coordinator and one of WALLA’s original founders. 

Most classes are peer-led with additional Purdue professors, faculty and graduate students volunteering their time to teach a wide variety of classes to WALLA members, from biology and foreign languages to exercise and craft making. The class structure promotes participation, discussion and fellowship. 

According to Gardner, one of the most popular classes is “Great Decisions.” The class is offered every spring and is based on material from the Foreign Policy Association, which strives to further public understanding of U.S. foreign policy and global issues. 

WALLA engages members outside the classroom through day trips, seminars and community-building activities. This September, WALLA members can register to visit the Indiana cities of Madison, Hanover and Columbus in a trip that includes a stop at the first private college in the state and a five-hour boat trip down the Ohio River to Louisville.

WALLA also advocates for members to participate in Purdue research, assisting the university in reaching an age group that otherwise might be missed.

Partnering with Purdue’s Office of Engagement, WALLA provides an essential link between the university and the surrounding communities. And like its members, WALLA is aging gracefully. When the organization opened its doors in 1993, 77 members signed up for classes. Today, WALLA has over 240 members and continues to grow. Its mission remains unchanged: to foster interaction and community for the over 50 population. But its strategic planning committee is hard at work designing the future of WALLA.

Share your vision for WALLA’s future at office@wallaonline.org or visit wallaonline.org to browse the latest newsletter for film series information, trip and event registration, and volunteer opportunities. 

Story Published: Purdue Today