Trinity joins Age-Friendly Universities Network

Posted on: 26 September 2017

Trinity College Dublin today celebrates the endorsement of the 10 Principles of an Age-Friendly University, which set out the distinctive contribution that can be made by higher education institutions in addressing the needs of older adults.

In adopting these principles Trinity joins a growing network of universities from Ireland, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States that are united in their commitment to equality and inclusion for all ages.

Trinity is well positioned to contribute to this network and to the public good as a proponent and enabler of positive ageing. The Age-Friendly University network established by Dublin City University (DCU) aims to set a strategic direction to respond to demographic changes through its research agenda, curriculum development, community engagement and via its relationship with its own faculty, staff and students.

It is based on the foundation that a university that does not welcome staff and students of all ages and life stages is missing out on unique opportunities.

Trinity's oldest student, Joe Veselsky, with Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly TD.,

The Age-Friendly Trinity initiative further supports Trinity’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion as laid out in its Strategic Plan 2014-2019 and other core policy and strategy documents. The Minister of State with special responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly TD, Provost of Trinity, Dr Patrick Prendergast, and President of DCU, Professor Brian McCraith, all spoke at the event.

For more information see:

Membership requires a commitment to the Ten Principles of an Age-Friendly which are:

  1. to encourage the participation of older adults in all the core activities of the university, including educational and research programmes
  2. to promote personal and career development in the second half of life and to support those who wish to pursue "second careers"
  3. to recognise the range of educational needs of older adults (from those who were early school-leavers through to those who wish to pursue Master's or PhD qualifications
  4. to promote intergenerational learning to facilitate the reciprocal sharing of expertise between learners of all ages
  5. to widen access to online educational opportunities for older adults to ensure a diversity of routes to participation
  6. to ensure that the university's research agenda is informed by the needs of an ageing society and to promote public discourse on how higher education can better respond to the varied interests and needs of older adults
  7. to increase the understanding of students of the longevity dividend and the increasing complexity and richness that ageing brings to our society
  8. to enhance access for older adults to the university's range of health and wellness programmes and its arts and cultural activities
  9. to engage actively with the university's own retired community
  10. to ensure regular dialogue with organisations representing the interests of the ageing population

The Trinity College Equality Committee tasked a working group, chaired by Dr Sabina Brennan, to investigate age friendly matters at Trinity and to ascertain how best Trinity can pursue the principles of an Age Friendly University.

Dr Brennan said: “We are very proud to announce our membership of the Age-Friendly Universities Network and it is fitting that we do so during Positive Ageing Week. Trinity College Dublin is a university for all ages that welcomes the opportunity to transform lives and societies through education, engagement, research, and innovation.”

“The highlight for me today was meeting Josef Veselsky (97), Trinity’s oldest student, and others who have attended extra-mural courses or studied full-time at Trinity and indeed members of Trinity’s vibrant retirement association. Lifelong learning bestows so many benefits to our health and our wellbeing and older adults enrich our community.”

“We are excited to join this global network and welcome the opportunity to celebrate and promote engagement with older people to foster better solidarity between generations while further developing Trinity’s commitment to equality.”

Trinity has a strong record in ageing research across multiple disciplines. Thousands of older adults from around the world have taken part in Trinity’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in Strategies for Successful Ageing. Trinity is keen to welcome students of all ages on campus to engage in college life and to take part in extra-mural, undergraduate or post-graduate courses.

Success Stories

A number of Trinity-led initiatives and achievements underline the university’s commitment to positive ageing. For more information on these, see:

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