Grandparents University: An intergenerational learning opportunity in partnership with the Wisconsin Alumni Association

July 22, 2019


Hi folks, Tolu here. Grandparents University (GPU) is finally among us, and I cannot be more excited! GPU is a recurring two-day program during the month of July where grandparents have the opportunity to visit UW-Madison with their grandchildren and experience different “majors” throughout UW based on their interests. Participants then “graduate” together at the conclusion of the program. One of my main responsibilities this summer as the Youth and Family Programs intern is to help create and facilitate GPUs major called “Plants and People,” which is held at Allen Centennial Garden.

Making Bookmarks, Pressing Flowers

Bee Keepers in Action

Since GPUs mission is to foster an intergenerational learning experience between older adults and the youth, I have been working over the past several weeks to come up with activities suitable for both age groups. Rather than focusing primarily on plant identification, the “Plants and People” major hones in on the connection between our experiences as humans in natural landscapes and garden practices as we bridge the gap between plant life and people. Students learn how to use and improve green spaces in their own communities, learn about the roles that pollinators play in our everyday lives and still get a little dirty with some hands on gardening.

Learning at Grandparents University Program

After earning a “degree”, the goal is to have participants be more comfortable sharing knowledge with others about the physical, mental and emotional benefits of being in nature. GPU takes place for three sessions each year. For more information on the program and how you can become involved, check out the resources available on the Wisconsin Alumni Association’s website.


by Tolu Igun | Former Youth and Family Programs Intern