“We believe college campuses are fertile ground for advancing cogeneration.”

An illustration of an older and younger person walking on an abstract staircase emerging from a notebook

We’re excited to announce the launch of Campus Cogenerate, a new initiative developed by Encore.org and Campus Compact focused on the power generated when older and younger people come together to engage with communities in solving problems, bridging divides, and co-creating a better future – or what we call “cogeneration.”

During a time of growing civic discord, age divides, social isolation, and inequity, intergenerational collaboration on campuses and in the surrounding communities can produce a windfall of social capital along with much-needed generational and cultural understanding.

Many community-engaged campuses already offer lifelong learning programs, provide intergenerational community service experiences, or connect age-diverse populations for mutual learning and exchange. Cogeneration takes this a step further, bringing generations together to solve pressing problems.

We’ve seen some powerful examples of creative, high-impact cogeneration happening on campuses across the country.

  • Intergenerational classroom experiences designed to foster shared learning, reciprocal mentoring, and collaborative community projects between younger students and older adults planning second careers in the social sector.
  • Age-integrated approaches to national service that leverage campus-based AmeriCorps or AmeriCorps VISTA members to recruit college students, alumni and local AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers to jointly tackle urgent community issues like food insecurity or environmental education.
  • University-sponsored intergenerational housing programs that connect students struggling to find affordable housing with empty nesters with a spare bedroom to rent at a discount in return for some extra help around the house.

But we suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg. Over the next six months, Campus Cogenerate will:

  • Identify, spotlight, and share promising practices related to cogenerational problem solving already happening across campuses and in our communities.
  • Host a visioning session to facilitate peer learning on how age diversity, social connection, and campus innovation can help bridge divides, solve problems, and co-create thriving, equitable, and just communities.
  • Support new and expanded opportunities for cogenerational collaboration across the Campus Compact and Encore networks.

Do you know about campus activity that’s intentionally bringing older and younger people together to solve problems? Would you like to stay informed as we collect information from campuses across the country?

If you answer yes to either question, please fill out this quick survey from Campus Compact, and we’ll keep you posted.

We believe college campuses are fertile ground for advancing cogeneration. Thanks so much for your interest and your help!

 

About Campus CompactCampus Compact is a national coalition of colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. Campus Compact supports institutions in fulfilling their public purposes by deepening their ability to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. As the largest national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement, we provide professional development to administrators and faculty to enable them to engage effectively, facilitate national partnerships connecting campuses with key issues in their local communities, build pilot programs to test and refine promising models in engaged teaching and scholarship, celebrate and cultivate student civic leadership, and convene higher education institutions and partners beyond higher education to share knowledge and develop collective capacity. Visit compact.org.

About Encore.orgOne of the nation’s leading social-impact organizations dedicated to making the most of our increasingly multigenerational society, Encore.org brings older and younger people together to solve problems, bridge divides and co-create the future.

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