We are 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.”
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. 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.
What might this look like on the ground?
We have 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.
How can you get involved?
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. We believe college campuses are fertile ground for advancing cogeneration. Sign up here to learn more and get involved.
Want to learn more about why cogeneration is so urgently needed?
To learn more about the game-changing impact of bringing generations together to build a better future, read Overcoming Age Segregation, the opening essay of the Stanford Social Innovation Review series on Meeting the Multigenerational Moment.
"We need to be as creative in bringing people together across ages as we’ve been about splitting them apart. And we need to do so in ways that replace the age-segregated landscape of daily life with greater proximity and shared purpose."
– Marc Freedman, Co-CEO of Encore.org & Trent Stamp, CEO of The Eisner Foundation, from Overcoming Age Segregation, Stanford Social Innovation Review
One 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.