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Lifelong Learning offers Café Society beginning March 11

ISSUED: 27 March 2014
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University’s Lifelong Learning program is offering a new course Café Society which invites participants to share ideas about what is happening in the world around them Tuesdays from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. in the Rumsey Room in the Student Center beginning March 11.

The course is designed to bring together students, faculty, and the community to talk and exchange meaningful ideas and perspectives to empower individuals and communities. Topics may be economic or political-based and range from local to global. It aims to foster a more robust, civil society, more cohesive and interactive communities, greater media literacy, and a more informed and engaged public through “coffee shop” conversations about contemporary social and political issues.

The discussion for March 11 is income disparity–what it means to the individual and society, what contributes to it, and what, if anything, should be done about it.

The discussion for March 18 is if college is for everyone and if it is worth the cost.

Discussions will be facilitated by Art Wineburg and Mike Austin.

Austin said there are many highly skilled and broadly experienced people, often retired professionals, in the area who represent a significant knowledge base that is underutilized.

“We thought it would be enjoyable and perhaps helpful to the younger members of our community to create a dialog that would draw upon these perceptions and experiences,” he said. “What we envision in the Café Society is not a formal lecture or debate, but simply a facilitated discussion in which we explore together current issues and events. It would undoubtedly result in new friendships, and we think further enhance the quality of life in our community.”

Wineburg said Café Society is an opportunity for cross-generational members of the community to share and exchange views on current and continuing public issues of the day.

“While there is no right answer, these societal issues affect each of us and our families and friends differently, and each of us has his or her own perspective, which we will share and exchange, and by that each of us will have a deeper understanding of the issue,” he said.

Austin retired from the U.S. Navy and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and now has a small honey business, Duchess Apiary. Wineburg is a retired lawyer and former adjunct professor of law and resides in Shepherdstown.

The course runs for six weeks and is free and open to the public. Shepherd students and faculty are encouraged to participate.

For more information or to sign up, contact Karen Rice at 304-876-5135 or

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