Erie County's University Express
2023 NACo Achievement Award Winner
Erie County, N.Y., NY
Best In Category
About the Program
Category: Arts, Culture and Historic Preservation (Best in Category)
University Express offers free educational programming for older adults in Erie County, NY, during spring and fall semesters at senior centers, public libraries, and online. Class categories include current events, history, science, law and finance, and wellness. The purpose of the program is to stimulate the mind, create social connections between people with similar interests, and create a relationship between the attendees and the Erie County Department of Senior Services. The once in-person only program, transitioned completely online during the Pandemic summer of 2020. Sixteen virtual classes were offered during the summer of 2020 which grew to over 70 online classes in the fall of 2020. Participation in these classes was strong. The online programming grew to include a virtual book club, a current events discussion group, and bi-weekly trivia sessions. In-person programming was reintroduced for the Fall 2021 semester, with virtual classes continuing as a nice complement. After seeing the demand, University Express has truly embraced the hybrid model and continues offering virtual programming to this day.