Lifelong Learning Institute at Virginia Tech


Fall 2022 Special Events are a free benefit of LLI membership. You must be a currently enrolled member to participate in these special learning opportunities.

The Free Zoom Lectures will be presented as Zoom webinars with unlimited enrollment. Additional special events are also available – some in-person and some by Zoom. You can register online for Special Events on the same screen as your course selections. You may register for as many Special Events as you plan to attend.

At the bluegrass BBQ

Free Special Events

Both Zoom and in-person events are available for Fall 2022. You may register for as many of the free events as you plan to attend.

Free Zoom Webinars (note the dates carefully)

33. Community Responses to Refugees and Migrants: Learning from Sicily
DATE/TIME: Wednesday, Nov 9, 1:30-3:00 p.m.

In the wake of the Arab Spring in the early 2010s, more than 45,000 people risked their lives to cross the Mediterranean in search of refuge in Europe. This talk examines the reactions of citizens in Siracusa, Sicily, to the influx, comparing these views to the opinions expressed by residents of Southwest Virginia in discussions of local refugee resettlement projects. The presentation emphasizes the role and impact of community support groups. It concludes with a discussion of how Virginia Tech’s new Center for Refugee, Migrant and Displacement Studies supports efforts both in Siracusa and in Southwest Virginia.

Rebecca Hester is an associate professor in the Department of Science, Technology and Society at Virginia Tech and co-founder of the Center for Refugee, Migrant and Displacement Studies.

34. Celebrating Stephen Sondheim
DATE/TIME: Friday, November 4, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

Stephen Sondheim was one of the most influential composers and lyricists in American musical theatre, known for the versatility of his shows and the depth of his lyrics. This talk will review Sondheim’s life and astonishing range of work, including the inspiration he provided to other composers. We will hear Sondheim himself presenting and discussing his work, including his comments on the recent West Side Story film. Participants will receive extensive materials after the talk to further learn about Sondheim and his work.

Dan Sherman is a retired economist who found his passion in teaching adult education courses on theatre and opera to a wide variety of groups throughout the Washington D.C. area and Williamsburg.

35. Memory Wars
DATE/TIME: Tuesday, November 15, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

Memory Wars is a new podcast that explores how Germany reckoned with the history of the Holocaust and what can be learned as America grapples with its own legacy of slavery and racism. Radio IQ’s Mallory Noe-Payne spent a year in Germany on a Fulbright grant listening to personal stories from German citizens and how they, and the country as a whole, are coming to grips with their Nazi past. When she returned, Mallory teamed with Michael Paul Williams of the Richmond Times-Dispatch to explore America’s response over time to its history of racism and slavery.

Join us to learn more about how these Memory Wars have played out, the similarities and differences in cultural and historical contexts, and the themes of education, memorialization, and accountability that emerged from Mallory’s research and reflection with her podcast co-host.

Mallory Noe-Payne is the Richmond Bureau Chief for RadioIQ and recipient of a Fulbright Young Professional Journalist grant. Michael Paul Williams, a columnist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, won a Pulitzer Prize for a series of columns in 2020 on the dismantling of Richmond’s monuments to white supremacy.

36. Trees and Forests: Eating, Drinking, and Gossip
DATE/TIME: Thursday, November 17, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

This presentation provides a broad overview of the trees found in Virginia’s forests, a rich mix of species resulting in high biodiversity, productivity, and aesthetic value. We will pay special attention to the environmental factors controlling tree distribution and productivity. Participants will gain a better appreciation of the amazing, huge organisms we call trees, marveling at their growth and water-uptake mechanisms and their astonishing ability to “communicate” with each other. You’ll have a chance to ask your questions of VT’s “Dr. Dendro.”

Alumni Distinguished Professor John Seiler has been a member of the faculty in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation at Virginia Tech since 1985. The recipient of numerous teaching awards, including the University Wine Award, the SCHEV Outstanding faculty Award, and the Ernest L. Boyer International Award for Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Technology, John is a popular authority on tree biology and identification known by the public as “Dr. Dendro.”

In-Person Special Events

The following in-person special events are free to LLI members; registration is required.

37, 38. Enjoy Free Audio Books, eBooks, and Magazines on Your Devices
Two in-person sessions, choose one. Monday, Nov 7

  • 10:30 – 12:30 p.m. – Apple Devices
  • 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. – Android Devices
LOCATION: Blacksburg Library Community Room, 200 Miller Street, Blacksburg
In-person; limit 10 per session

For both sessions, you will need:

  • A Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library card in good standing
  • OverDrive’s Libby app downloaded in advance

Library experts will teach you how to read eBooks and magazines, and listen to audiobooks, all for free with OverDrive’s Libby app and your library card.

The library offers ‘book-a-librarian’ appointments for one-on-one help before the class with accessing the app store to download OverDrive’s Libby app.

37. Morning session for Apple devices
Bring your Apple device (such as an iPad, iPhone, iPod) to the 10:30–12:30 session. Your device will need to have at least iOS 10.0 to use the Libby app; download Libby from the App Store. You will need your Apple ID and password.

38. Afternoon session for Android devices
Bring your Android device (such as a Samsung, LG, Nexus) to the 2:30–4:30 session. Your device will need to have at least Android 5.0 (Fire OS 5.0 for Kindle Fires) to use the Libby app; download OverDrive’s Libby app from the Google Play Store (Amazon App store for Kindles). You will need your Google account and password.

39. Dementia: Types, Causes, Diagnosis, Testing, Prevention, Treatment
DATE/TIME: Monday, November 7, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Warm Hearth Village Center, Tall Oaks Room
LIMIT:40 This event is open to Warm Hearth residents.

We will explore the various dementia syndromes and their causes, and then discuss how to diagnose dementia. What tests are needed? How can we separate normal forgetfulness of aging from dementia? And, finally, what can be done to prevent and treat dementia?

Larry Cox is a retired board-certified cardiologist who recently moved to the New River Valley.

40. Roots of Southern Appalachian Music—and More
DATE/TIME: Monday, November 14, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Warm Hearth Village Center, Tall Oaks Room
LIMIT: 40 This event is open to Warm Hearth residents.

Fred Benfield (VT Professor Emeritus) and his son Jon Benfield (Station Manager of WVRU Public Radio) have performed in the region together and with others over the last 35 years. As “American Roots” this guitar/vocal harmony duo specializes in early 20th century music in a variety of genres including traditional ballads, “Appalachian Blues,” “Piedmont Blues,” “Delta Blues,” trad-country, trad-jazz, tin-pan-alley toe tappers, swing, hot fiddle tunes (on guitar), and “folkgrass” (folk tunes played at bluegrass tempo). All of these musical styles have influenced the development of the music one hears in the Southern Appalachians today. Fred and Jon will select tunes they enjoy performing from the list of genres.

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