University of Oregon

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Continuing and Professional Education

Shared Interest Groups

Shared Interest Groups (SIGs) are a great way for OLLI-UO members to continue lifelong learning beyond the classroom! These groups provide new opportunities to form friendships with other members around shared interests. They are independent and self-directed, with members deciding where and when to meet and how the group will function.

Have an idea for a SIG? Review SIG guidelines and complete a Proposal Form online or pick up a paper form from a program manager.

Examples of SIGs include:

  • Digital Photo Editing using Photoshop Elements
  • Exploring the Art, Culture, and History around Deschutes County
  • Great Decisions Foreign Policy Study/Social Group

Other SIG examples: astronomy is fun, day hiking, drawing for beginners, knitting, science fiction, photography, culinary adventures, genealogy, pickleball, heavy metal fans, etc.

View the list of current SIGs in Central Oregon and SIGs in Eugene/Springfield. Feel free to contact a facilitator to join in or for more information. Member contact information can be found in your member directory or by requesting it by phone at 800-824-2714 or by email at

SIGs are open to current OLLI-UO members only, i.e. those who hold a membership for the current year.

Shared Interest Groups Guidelines

As an OLLI member, you may be interested in forming a SIG that meets for a weekly lunch, plays pickleball, shares gardening tips, enjoys nature walks or foreign movies.

Opportunities are endless, but keep these guidelines in mind:

  • SIGs are open to all interested current OLLI-UO members, with a minimum of four participants required to establish a SIG.
  • All SIGs are held off-site. Options include members' homes or venues related to the SIG's activity (movie theaters, restaurants, libraries, recreational facilities, etc).
  • SIGs do not take the place of OLLI courses. They complement and enhance classes and other programs offered by OLLI-UO.

Governance, Policies, and Procedures

The following policies and procedures guide SIG planning, development, and implementation:

SIG Committee Organization

  1. A subset of the Program Committee, the Committee shall be comprised of a SIG Coordinator (Committee Chair), a representative of the Program Committee, representative of the Membership Committee, and additional members as required.
  2. The chair sets agendas, conducts meetings, reports to Program Committee Chair, makes special assignments, and other matters of Committee concern.

SIG Committee Responsibilities

  1. Promote SIGs proposals and SIG participation among the membership.
  2. Review new SIG proposals and accept, deny, or ask for proposal clarification.
  3. Assist SIG Facilitators to get started and as need arises.
  4. Alert the Program Committee Chair and OLLI-UO staff when a SIG concern arises.
  5. Provide periodic reports on the SIG program to the OLLI-UO Program Committee and Governing Council.
  6. Provide timely publicity about SIG activities for the current calendar to the newsletter editor for each month.

SIG Activity Selection Criteria

  1. Each SIG activity will have a SIG Facilitator who is responsible for the SIG group activity.
  2. SIG proposals will demonstrate activity interest of at least four active OLLI-UO members.
  3. Proposed SIGs do not duplicate other programs or activities at OLLI-UO.
  4. Proposed SIG activity is consistent with UO and OLLI-UO policies, and participants agree to adhere to the UO Code of Conduct

General SIG Policies

  • Current OLLI-UO membership is required for regular participation in SIGs. SIGs are open to all members who meet applicable requirements.
  • SIGs should treat all participants fairly and be open to different backgrounds and beliefs. Free and respectful discussions should be encouraged.
  • Each SIG will choose its leadership, activities, schedules, and meeting locations. OLLI program staff and standing committees are not responsible for finding or scheduling meeting locations.
  • All OLLI-UO members, including SIG participants, are considered non-credit students of the University of Oregon and are subject to the Student Conduct Code including proscriptions against disruptive behavior, personal harassment, and sexual misconduct.

How to Start a New Shared Interest Group

  • Begin by reading the guidelines completely (listed above) so that you understand the purpose, structure, and operation of the SIGs and the entire process for establishing one.
  • Complete a SIG Proposal Form and submit to the SIG Coordinator or to the OLLI-UO program staff. The proposal should include a description suitable for inclusion on the OLLI-UO website.
  • SIG proposals will be reviewed by members of the SIG Committee. They will be returned to the applicant for additional information, with suggestions for revision or with approval and next steps.