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Caldwell University student studying.

Caldwell, N.J., July 6, 2017 –

Caldwell University is one of a select group of 21 institutions across the nation chosen by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) to receive a grant of nearly $13,000 to implement an Intergenerational Connections: Students Serving Older Adults program. The one-year grant will be used to enhance connections between undergraduate students and older adults in the community. CIC launched this new initiative with support from the AARP Foundation to encourage colleges to create or extend programs in which students help low-income older adults (ages 50 and older) tackle key life challenges.

CIC President Richard Ekman said, “CIC hopes that this pilot project will serve as a first step toward the development of a national network of programs on independent college and university campuses that promote intergenerational interaction between students and community members.”

These 21 colleges and universities will be part of a new network of colleges that the AARP Foundation hopes will help establish best practices for engaging students in meeting the challenges of older adults—hunger, safe and affordable housing, income-generation, and social isolation—in the communities surrounding college campuses.

Brenda Petersen, Ph.D., chair of the Public Health Department, said Caldwell University is using this grant to develop its Community Telehealth Program designed to help older adults overcome the barriers in adoption of technology and to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. Students in the undergraduate bachelor’s in Public Health Education Program will engage with older adults providing assistance and teaching in accessing and using digital devices, providing instruction on safety and privacy on the internet, and helping this population learn how to use online resources and social media.

“Through our partnership with an independent living facility in our community we are excited about the opportunity to advance our undergraduate Public Health Education students’ use of telehealth while providing connections to older adults in our community. Our goal through this intergenerational connections grant is to promote the health of older adults through the use of telehealth and to create a national model that can be replicated by other schools and universities ” said Dr. Petersen.

More information about the project and the participating institutions is available on the CIC website at

The Council of Independent Colleges is an association of 768 nonprofit independent colleges and universities and higher education affiliates and organizations that has worked since 1956 to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of private higher education’s contributions to society. CIC is the major national organization that focuses on providing services to leaders of independent colleges and universities as well as conferences, seminars, and other programs that help institutions improve educational quality, administrative and financial performance, and institutional visibility. CIC conducts the largest annual conference of college and university presidents and of chief academic officers. CIC also provides support to state associations that organize programs and generate contributions for their member colleges and universities. The Council is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.

About AARP Foundation

AARP Foundation works to ensure that low-income older adults have nutritious food, affordable housing, a steady income, and strong and sustaining bonds. We collaborate with individuals and organizations who share our commitment to innovation and our passion for problem-solving. Supported by vigorous legal advocacy, we create and advance effective solutions that help struggling older adults transform their lives. AARP Foundation is the affiliated charity of AARP.