Meaningful Intergenerational Connections
Every fall session, the Fromm Institute showcases USF Faculty, leaders, researchers, and students with the Series “Changing the World From Here – USF Faculty Lectures” — a culmination and celebration of several projects: The concerted effort to diversify the Fromm Institute’s academic offerings, a forum to support intergenerational exchange and USF’s “Age-Friendly University” initiative, and a formal recognition of the Fromm Institute’s longtime relationship with USF.
On a Wednesday afternoon, undergraduate public health students and Fromm Institute students enjoyed each other's company and conversation in the sunlit atrium of Fromm Hall. Fifteen undergraduate public health majors were interviewing Fromm Institute students for their BSPH Introduction to Public and Global Health course. Their assignment was to interview someone 60 years or older to learn about different perspectives and experiences on aging, health, and well-being across the life course. BSPH Program Director and Associate Professor Laura Chyu, Associate Dean Erin Grinshteyn, and Carla Hall Associate Director of Curriculum & Instruction at the Fromm Institute, collaboratively organized this event to create opportunities for meaningful intergenerational connections between USF undergraduate students and Fromm Institute students.
Several of the Fromm students who participated reported that the experience was “so uplifting,” “life-changing,” “we will stay in touch,” “I just didn’t know that USF was doing so much intergenerational work; how wonderful,” “USF students are so bright and welcoming.”
“I arrived to the interview kind of weary and nervous but was paired with a kind gentleman named Bill. We talked about his life, health, and advice. Our conversation was full of advice on kindness, aging, and friendships. I listened to Bill talk about his life and past experiences that made him into the person he is today. I am grateful for the Age-Friendly activity because it helped me learn about myself, to live for me in the moment and let go of the stresses I can’t control which I learned from Bill. As a stressed out college student is was exactly what I needed to hear. With his experience as an educational therapist he helped to set me on a similar mental path and inspired my future career,” shared Frida Ortiz BSPH student.
This fall at Fromm, Dr. Chris Thompson is hosting Kinesiology intergenerational courses where USF and Fromm students interact and study together. Additionally, the Gerontology Minor Scholarship recipient, Courtney Muchow, is offering tech help and an intergenerational Knit Club. USF nursing students joined the session for a health assessment week!
As the first Jesuit University designated as an Age-Friendly University in 2021, USF is committed to an inclusive approach to healthy and active aging, including intergenerational opportunities for learners of all ages to share their expertise, experiences, and perspectives. USF's Interdisciplinary Committee on Aging also promotes research and community efforts to support older adults. These initiatives and the success of the BSPH and Fromm Institute events are examples of how USF is a leading destination for lifelong learning.