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Conference Session 3: Aging in Action: Empowering Civic Engagement Across Generations
Friday, October 18, 2024, 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM PDT
Category: Conferences

Aging in Action: Empowering Civic Engagement Across Generations 

Fostering Intergenerational Collaboration and Solidarity


  • Harry (Rick) Moody, PhD (Visiting Faculty, Creative Longevity & Wisdom Program Fielding Graduate University


  • Jennifer (Jenny) Sasser, PhD, FAGHE (Part-Time Faculty & Interim Department Chair, Portland Community College Gerontology Program; Teaching & Learning Specialist, Portland Community College; OGA Board Member) 


Older people and younger people alike experience complex contemporary challenges and the need for beneficial social connections. To envision solutions to these challenges-- and to foster beneficial intergenerational relationships-- we must consider how beliefs, attitudes, and priorities differ for various age groups, as well as how generational experiences, along with present circumstances, are influential. In this session, we will ask: How can we appreciate hopes and fears about the future through understanding the contrasting experiences of different generations? What qualities are necessary as an "elder" to connect with and collaborate across age and generational differences? What are practices for fostering intergenerational collaboration and solidarity? What are the qualities of the "legacy mindset" and how might we embody this mindset at every age and life-course stage? Examples of intergenerational civic engagement and social change efforts will be shared.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify opportunities for intergenerational engagement and solidarity.
  • Consider practices for reaching out across age and generational differences.
  • Recognize the qualities of a “legacy mindset.”

Direct Action Organizing for Addressing Policy Issues


  • Gerald (Jerry) Cohen, JD, MPA (OGA Board Member) 


This presentation will describe the process of Direct Action Organizing (DAO) and how it differs from advocacy and other approaches to addressing policy issues. The six steps of DAO will be detailed and examples given. Best practices in identifying winnable policy goals and strategies before tactics are identified will be shared.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will learn how the Saul Alinsky approach to direct action organizing can serve as a model for addressing needed public policy changes.
  • Participants will see how resources such as work by the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center can be used to help identify and inform common ground across partisanship and ideologies to frame goals and strategies.
  • Participants will gain an understanding of how multi-generational approaches can be used to successfully address issues ranging from early childhood support to climate change.

Continuing Education Credits

Please check back soon for updates. 

This is the third of four sessions of OGA's 2024 virtual conference. You can register for individual sessions or, at a discount, for the entire conference series. For an overview of all sessions, please visit the conference page.

Register here!

Harry (Rick) Moody, PhD, is retired Vice President for Academic Affairs for AARP in Washington, DC and former chairman of the Board of Road Scholar (previously Elderhostel). He is the author of many books and articles in gerontology, including Aging: Concepts and Controversies, now in its 10th edition, co-authored with Jenny (Jennifer) Sasser. His new book, Climate Change in an Aging Society will be published this year by Routledge.

Gerald (Jerry) Cohen, JD, MPA, has joined his spouse Ruth as a partner in Evolving Elders, dedicated to address the opportunities and transitions of aging. He moved to Oregon in 1996 from Kansas City to establish one of AARP’s first state offices. He served as AARP’s State Director in Oregon for 23 years, working with local, state and national staff, volunteers, members and businesses and community organizations. AARP is the premier organization for people 50+ and their families. He is a certified trainer of the AARP Direct Action Organizing program through the Midwest Academy approach to advocacy. A native of Wisconsin, Jerry holds an undergraduate degree (BA) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a law degree (JD) from Washington University-St. Louis, and a Masters in Public Administration degree (MPA) from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he also concentrated in gerontology and health care administration.

Jennifer (Jenny) Sasser, PhD, FAGHE, (she/they) is an educational gerontologist, transdisciplinary scholar, and social activist. She serves as Teaching & Learning Specialist in the Center for Teaching & Learning Excellence and part-time faculty and Interim Department Chair in the Gerontology Program at Portland Community College. Jenny has been working in the field of aging for more than half her life, beginning as a nursing assistant and advocate before specializing in educational gerontology, and adult development and learning. Jenny co-authors, with Janet Lee, Blood Stories: Menarche and the Politics of the Female Body in Contemporary US Society;  Aging: Concepts and Controversies with Harry R. Moody (now in its 10th edition); and is first author (also with Moody) of Gerontology: The basics, recently published in Chinese and Spanish. She co-authors several book chapters and is an essayist. 

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