Bluestem U Announces Three Fall Courses for Lifelong Learning

NORTH NEWTON, Kan. – Bluestem U, a new lifelong learning program for individuals age 55 and better, is enrolling now for its first semester that will begin in September 2022. Bluestem U is a partnership between local higher education institutions Bethel College and Hesston College and Bluestem Communities, a nonprofit organization that serves seniors through various living options and care-centered services.

The fall 2022 semester will feature three courses hosted by Hesston College and Schowalter Villa, a Bluestem community in Hesston. Each course is $50.

“Prairie Landscaping 101” will be taught by Brad Guhr, prairie restoration/education coordinator at Dyck Arboretum of the Plains, which operates under the auspices of Hesston College. The course will teach participants how to incorporate elements of the prairie into their own landscaping, as well as how to best manage their native gardens. “Prairie Landscaping” is a three-week course that will be held on Mondays from 4 to 6 p.m. from September 19 through October 3.

“Happy Habits from Positive Psychology” will be taught by Kevin Wilder, former Hesston College psychology instructor at Hesston College and current Director of Fund Advancement at Bluestem Communities. The course will study positive psychology, a relatively new branch of psychology that studies healthy and happy people to find out what helps them have a fulfilling and meaningful life. “Happy Habits from Positive Psychology” will be held on Thursdays from 10 to 11:30 a.m. from September 8 through October 6.

“Buggies, Bonnets and Boundaries: A Study of Amish Faith, Life and Culture” will be taught by John Sharp, retired Hesston College history instructor. The course will examine the Amish in historical, religious and cultural contexts, including the values and commitments that govern Amish life. “Buggies, Bonnets and Boundaries” will be held through the online Zoom platform on Wednesdays from 1 to 2:30 from September 28 through October 19.

A spring 2023 semester with courses taught by instructors with Bethel College affiliation will be hosted by Bethel College and Kidron Bethel Village, a Bluestem community in North Newton.

All members of the public age 55 and better are welcome to be a part of Bluestem U, and do not need to have affiliation with any of the sponsoring organizations.

“We are excited to offer this program that will open our campuses to the community and to those who want to learn more about specific areas of interest,” said Julie Miller, Bluestem Communities Lifelong Learning Project Manager. “We are looking forward to working in collaboration with our neighbors at Bethel College and Hesston College to create professional and meaningful programs and experiences for participants.”

For more information and to register, visit or call 316-836-4846.

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