Seniors & Aging

Association offers WWU retirees chance to meet, know, travel with former co-workers

Western Washington University Retirement Association members Margaret Loudon, left, John Woll, Margaret Woll, and Mary Jo Lewis, visited Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand in February 2015. The association doesn’t officially organize trips, but does alert members to travel opportunities, and encourages them to present show-and-tell programs about their experiences.
Western Washington University Retirement Association members Margaret Loudon, left, John Woll, Margaret Woll, and Mary Jo Lewis, visited Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand in February 2015. The association doesn’t officially organize trips, but does alert members to travel opportunities, and encourages them to present show-and-tell programs about their experiences. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

“Retirement can be lonely for some,” says Ron Ward, president of Western Washington University Retirement Association. “Initially, people may not feel the need to join an organization, but are drawn in later by the social opportunities they offer.”

A former associate professor of mathematics at Western, Ward retired 10 years ago and found himself attending public travelogues hosted by the association.

“It was a nice way to vicariously visit other places,” he says. “They also have luncheons with interesting guest speakers. That’s how I got started.”

I had one person tell me she has more friends from WWU now than when she was working there.

Ron Ward, president, Western Washington University Retirement Association

Eligible members are retired Western faculty, staff and administrators; current and former trustees; active and former campus employees; retirees from other universities and colleges; spouses, widows and widowers of those people; and other people who support the association, with approval from the board of directors.

Ward knows that working people might not want to socialize with their colleagues from work, but that can change after retirement when they can miss the people they used to see daily.

“I had one person tell me she has more friends from WWU now than when she was working there,” he says.

The association publishes an annual roster of members with addresses, phone numbers and emails, making it easy to invite friends to other activities.

“We have a creative writing group, book club, bridge players, skiers, walkers, operagoers, and dining groups,” Ward says. “It helps cement these friendships.”

The monthly newsletter keeps members current on upcoming events, and includes book reviews, poetry, health articles, and speaker information. Three luncheons are held annually, along with a July picnic and a December holiday party.

Members are encouraged to join one of the association’s standing committees, sharing the responsibilities of the group and the fellowship it offers.

“You really get to know people in this group,” Ward says. “People end up traveling and dining together. It’s a good way to make and keep friends.”

Western Washington University Retirement Association

Online: See wwu.edu/wwura for information about membership, events and newsletter.

Details: Barbara Evans, membership chair, 360-650-9724 or barbandhoward@comcast.net.

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