URI’s Age-Friendly University

The Age-Friendly University (AFU) concept originated at Dublin City University in Ireland in 2012 in recognition of the important contributions that universities can make in meeting the unique needs and interests of an aging population. Since then, universities around the world have adopted the ten AFU principles and formed a global network.

In 2017 the URI Program in Gerontology convened a workgroup to develop a proposal for URI to become an AFU. Its report was approved by the Provost, and URI became an AFU in 2018. The AFU project is housed within the URI Program in Gerontology.  

The AFU concept does not mean that the University is now reaching out to two different groups at the extremes of the life course: the young and the old. Rather, it embodies learning over the life course, or lifelong learning, as a way of extending education in a relevant and flexible way to adults as they grow older and move through life.

The more accurate term might be “aging-friendly university.” This approach means that education is more than just getting the knowledge and skills necessary for the workplace. It includes creative thinking on how one spends one’s time and energy on other important life pursuits, such as family, health, leisure, civic engagement, and spirituality.

Endorsing the ten principles affords URI with a framework for ongoing evaluation of its efforts to make the University an open and welcoming community for adults of all ages. The principles are not a set of absolute criteria that must be met; rather, they are a set of standards to identify gaps and opportunities for growth.

Follow the link to read more about our AFU Goals