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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Classes promote lifelong learning

By Tayler Covington

As a group of hikers trudged through the wilderness of Parley’s Summit under a dark sky, the only audible noise was the sound of snowshoes breaking through the layers of snow beneath them. The purpose of the hike was to see the lunar eclipse last Wednesday, but clouds covered the sky.

However, the trip was not a disappointment to the hikers.

The hikers, some of whom had never been snowshoeing, learned about staying safe outdoors during the winter. Bruce Christenson and Patty Winterer, who taught the snowshoeing class, have been involved in winter activities for more than 30 years and have been trained in outdoor and avalanche safety. The snowshoe class is part of the Lifelong Learning Program, which serves faculty and community members with lessons that will enrich their lives and get them motivated. The courses are geared toward older students who are not pursuing undergraduate degrees.

On the snowshoe hike, which was three quarters of a mile, Christenson and Winterer shared tips and tricks to make sure the participants knew what to do in case of an emergency.

“Snowshoeing is growing around here, and we’re seeing people get in trouble with it a little bit,” Winterer said. “It’s really fun, but put the safety in with it as well.”

“We pride ourselves in offering something for everyone,” said Mandy Self, the program director.

As part of continuing education, the program offers diverse non-credit courses, ranging from Mastering Martinis to The Art of Reading Palms.

A three-week art class called Trash to Treasure focused on taking post-consumer materials and recycling them into art. The class started with the history of art made from recycling. Then the students looked at recycled art through the principles of design and proposed a project and how they would put it together.

Andrea Heidinger, the instructor of Trash to Treasure, encourages her students to show their work in a gallery.

“People that make the effort to take a class that moves on to a final project should be encouraged to show it to people,” Heidinger said. “They have the potential to make something that others will view with appreciation.”

Nataunya Kay, one of Heidinger’s students, plans on showing her project in an art gallery.

“If I can complete it, I will definitely put it in,” Kay said. “I’m planning on taking the course again in the fall and having something completed. I’ve always been interested in making art out of recycled materials.”

Lifelong Learning classes are limited in enrollment. Art classes are limited to eight to 12 students, food courses hold 12 to 14 students and the language classes are limited to 20 to 25 students.

“We try to keep the classes fairly small,” Self said, adding that professors are able to give students the attention and help they need in a closer atmosphere.

Heidinger also noted that the small class sizes allow her to be more interactive with the students.

“Just from the small group, I felt like there was a lot of enthusiasm which was really cool,” she said.

The courses are short in length because they are designed for working adults, Self said.

“All of our classes are meant to provide adults with additional education in something they’ve been interested in,” she said. “(The classes) keep people learning and keep people active.”

Kay, a working mother, was able to find time out of her busy schedule to take Heidinger’s class.

“It’s always difficult to add something on, but the fact that it was very short, three weeks was something I could manage,” Kay said.

Heidinger said she hopes more students will join the classes.

“The (Lifelong Learning) Program puts people in a place of learning these things when they’re done with their formal education,” Heidinger said. “It exposes them to new things and gives them opportunities they might not get elsewhere.”

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