Longview: The First Decade

IC enjoys a unique, valuable partnership with its neighboring senior community. by Keith Davis


What was it like living through the Great Depression? Would you be willing to speak to my class about the human impact of privatizing Medicare? Can I introduce you to Facebook? Will you waltz with me at the Harvest Moon Dance?

Such questions have been asked of each other by students, staff, and faculty from Ithaca College and residents of Longview since 1998 (well, maybe not the Facebook question; that’s relatively recent). That year a partnership was established between the College — where the average student age is 20 — and the independent, not-for-profit adult community across Route 96B — where the average age is 85. In that decade, IC community members have been involved in service learning projects, course-related initiatives, and volunteering with Longview residents, who have in turn granted interviews to students studying the psychology of aging, sung with students in the Intergenerational Choir, participated in a student initiative to benefit children in the local Head Start program — and taught students to waltz, and foxtrot, at the annual Harvest Moon Dance.

“Many people are now living into their 80s and 90s with reasonably good health,” says John Krout, professor of aging studies and director of the IC Gerontology Institute. “The College’s partnership with Longview allows us to better understand how older people can continue to flourish. The partnership also provides us with a golden opportunity to maintain the College’s leadership role in experiential learning.”

IC’s participation in the partnership is multidisciplinary and comes from all the schools and divisions, including the Division of Interdisciplinary and International Studies, which houses the gerontology program and the Linden Center for Creativity and Aging. In a typical semester two dozen faculty, 5 to 10 staff members, and some 300 students from 20 majors interact with well over 100 residents in 40 different activities at Longview. And in turn, Longview residents take classes and attend many performances and activities at the College.

The College kicked off an official 10-year celebration with a November tea held at Longview, featuring remarks from President Tom Rochon. Other commemorative events are scheduled throughout the academic year.