The Lyceum program, a lifelong-learning institute (LLI) for adults wanting to take university-level courses, will open its fall course selection on Sept. 18.

Lyceum offers 120 courses per year to members of the community. Classes are a hybrid between online and in-person instruction while adhering to current COVID-19 guidelines, according to their website. The program offers trips, dinners, concerts and other special events for members.

Rhonda Branca, the director of the program, explained that the program is the “only organization like this” in Broome and surrounding counties and that it is open to the entire community. Since the pandemic, many classes were taught over Zoom, allowing members to live away from Binghamton and still participate. The classes are taught by faculty members, local experts and sometimes national experts.

Lyceum was created in 1988 for people who wanted to learn after they retired from work. During the 1980s, there was a national interest in creating lifelong-learning institutions in institutes of higher learning, according to Branca.

“It’s the only lifelong institution in the surrounding counties,” Branca said. “It is the only program that offers this kind of highly quality education for very little money. If it goes away, several counties will have nothing like it.”

Prices for the courses can be found in the catalog on the Lyceum website, with different tiers available. A regular, bronze, silver and gold membership costs $50, $100, $200 and $300 respectively. Institutional membership costs $300 and night and special event-only membership is $25. After the membership fees, classes are then $7 per session, unless stated otherwise.

Branca emphasized that Lyceum also offers opportunities for Binghamton University students to participate in the program and earn internship credits.

“The program supports [BU] students in many ways,” Branca said. “We offer internship credit in different ways like social media and promotion information technology support and marketing. We also have a graduate student grant that allows us to pay up to three graduate students a year to teach a course.”

She added how the program is supported financially through the Office of the President and the Teaching, Learning and Educational Leadership program at the University. The program, affiliated with the National Road Scholar, has over 400 local members.

Faith Youngquist, a senior majoring in human development, gave her thoughts about the program and its benefits for community members.

“Absolutely, I believe that Binghamton is in need of affordable education, especially for its community members,” Youngquist said. “I think that it would get more adults to pursue an education if it is accessible and affordable”

Jessica Morgan, a senior majoring in psychology, said that she believes that people in the community need educational opportunities as well.

“I think it’s important for [BU] to have outreach to the community and not just be a separate entity as a University,” Morgan said. “I think it will help people who never considered getting a degree and hopefully connect the University to the City of Binghamton.”