Posted: Thu, February 14, 2013 | By: Eric Schulke
The Boston Globe reported three days ago that enrollment in the UMass Boston undergraduate gerontology program has fallen by two-thirds, to a mere 13 students, over the last decade. A relaunch in 2010 failed to yield more students. For that reason, UMass Boston’s decision to suspend the gerontology undergraduate program was a bow to reality.
It’s like a kick in the stomach for me to read about the program failing when the growth of gerontology has never been more lucrative and important.
Please, college students, I beg you to reconsider the Gerontology field. Talk about it with your friends, think about it, read about it, ask your teachers questions. There has never been a more important time to enroll in programs like the University of Massachusetts gerontology undergraduate program.
Is there something wrong with the word “gerontology” as the Boston Globe suggested?
“researchers need to make it clearer to students how the field connects to the future of the country and the economy. One advocate of the program even suggested a rebranding, saying the very term ‘gerontology’ seemed outdated.”
Students, does “Gerontology” seem un-cool? Does it seem too narrow, too niche?
Is it relevant for that girl with the beloved grandmother who wants to make a difference? For young adults who are brilliant at analyzing accumulation of damage in aging cells? Who understand the havoc wreaked by metabolism?
Gerontology programs provide hope for the future. The study of aging is a premier frontier of our era.
Now is the time when the gerontology field has never been more promising, has never been more equipped to push the boundaries.
This isn’t about just keeping grandma alive for 3 more years. This is about saving souls from eternal nothingness, staving off our stay in the perpetual ethers of obliteration, helping all our veteran humans, our mentors, our workers, helping them retain their health and their dignity, their vitality, their hard-earned lives. Its about securing that same opportunity for ourselves and our progeny.
A strong, vibrant gerontology community everywhere is the heart beat of the future, the scaffolding on which the most incredible breakthroughs are prepped to happen. For example, there is presently:
1. Ground-breaking work with the “immortal cell” at Geron
2. Michael Rose’s incredible pioneering work with fruit flies
3. Cynthia Kenyon’s exciting aging work with nematode worms
4. Methuselah Mouse Prize’s work is heating up - researchers are already claiming its prizes
Tools to create the breakthroughs are getting better every year. Cryonics is making strides; nanotechnology is taking root as a powerful new tool in gerontology’s arsenal.
Why is the UMass Gerontology program failing? What are you students talking about if it doesn’t include the exciting prospect of extending our health in the incredible future?
When humanity in the upcoming decades is exploring the ocean depths, voyaging into distant space, creating new inventions… where will you and I be? Will we be enjoying the experience, or will we be in graveyards?
Can you stand up for our future? By considering, and encouraging your friends, to apply numerous young aptitudes to endeavors like the UMass Gerontology program?
Can this happen? Or will we perpetuate an ironic indifference? And die needlessly? Before our time?
NOW is the time to get excited about Gerontology.