Last Updated August 27, 2022
DO I HAVE TO BE A FORMER STUDENT OR UW ALUMNUS TO JOIN PLATO?
No. PLATO membership is open to anyone who has an interest in being part of a participatory learning organization. PLATO is an independent nonprofit corporation organized under Wisconsin law and is recognized by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as a tax exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the internal revenue code.
WHEN CAN I JOIN PLATO?
You can join PLATO at any time, but all memberships renew on August 1. If you join between April 1 and December 31 you will pay the full membership fee, which is $60. If you join between January 1 and March 31 you pay half the membership fee, which is $30. Renewal notices are sent out July 1. Learn more by visiting the Join Us page.
DOES THE MEMBERSHIP FEE COVER ALL PLATO ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS?
For the most part, yes. The membership fee covers attendance and participation in all courses. But for some special events, such as the annual luncheon or a bus trip, there may be an additional fee and some courses require that you purchase a resource book.
IS PLATO’S MEMBERSHIP FEE TAX DEDUCTIBLE?
IS THERE A MINIMUM AGE FOR ME TO BE A MEMBER OF PLATO?
No. While PLATO focuses on serving 50+ learners, people of all ages are welcome to join. The only requirement is the love of lifelong learning.
CAN NON-MEMBERS ATTEND AND PARTICIPATE IN PLATO’S ACTIVITIES?
Yes, but there are limits. PLATO provides two types of activities, courses and special events. If you are not a PLATO member, you can attend a course on a trial basis before joining. In that case we ask that you decide whether to join after two or three attendances. For special events such as the annual luncheon or a bus trip, a PLATO member may bring non-member guests.
IS THERE A LIMIT TO THE NUMBER OF COURSES A PLATO MEMBER MAY ATTEND?
AM I REQUIRED TO PRE-REGISTER FOR PLATO COURSES?
HOW DO I FIND OUT WHAT COURSES ARE BEING OFFERED AND WHAT THEY ARE ABOUT?
Each semester’s course offerings are listed on the schedule page. The course schedule lists the course offerings and provides course descriptions, locations, and coordinators.
WHAT IF I MISS THE START OF A COURSE? CAN I JOIN A COURSE AFTER IT HAS STARTED?
The course structure is very informal. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the course coordinator. Coordinator names, phone numbers, and email addresses are shown on the course schedule.
FOR SOME COURSES A SCHEDULE IS PREPARED AND DISTRIBUTED THAT INDICATES THE TOPIC FOR EACH WEEK OF THE SEMESTER; IN OTHER GROUPS THERE IS NO SCHEDULE. WHY DON’T ALL GROUPS HAVE A SCHEDULE?
There is considerable variation in subject matter, format, and educational approach in the different courses. In some groups, a schedule is prepared in advance and distributed to participants. For other groups an advance schedule is not possible, since the weekly discussion is dictated by participant interest. In short, one size does not fit all.
WHERE DOES PLATO GET ITS INSTRUCTORS?
PLATO members lead or “coordinate” each course. As our name indicates, PLATO attracts individuals who are interested in teaching as well as learning.
WHO DETERMINES WHAT COURSES WILL BE OFFERED EACH SEMESTER? CAN I SUGGEST ONE, AND HOW DO I DO THAT?
PLATO’s curriculum is totally created by PLATO members. Any member can propose to lead a course. If you are interested in developing a course, go to the Propose a Course page on the PLATO website.
WHERE DO PLATO ACTIVITIES TAKE PLACE?
PLATO activities take place in a variety of community locations throughout the greater Madison area.
I’M UNCERTAIN ABOUT WHAT “PARTICIPATION” MEANS FOR PLATO. IF I JOIN A GROUP, WILL I BE REQUIRED TO ANSWER QUESTIONS? CAN I PARTICIPATE JUST BY LISTENING CAREFULLY?
There is a range of levels of participation. Each course in the course schedule includes a field that describes the participation level.
DO THE COURSES REQUIRE HOMEWORK?
In some courses there is outside reading, and participants are expected to have done this reading. For other courses there is no outside work. PLATO’s diverse educational activities have no set pattern.
HOW CAN I BECOME INVOLVED IN PLATO’S ADMINISTRATION?
The short answer is simply to ask. For more information about volunteering go to the Volunteeer page or contact any Board Director or Committee Chair. PLATO is always looking for more members to become involved in its activities.
ARE MEETINGS OF PLATO’S BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND COMMITTEES OPEN TO ALL MEMBERS? IF SO, HOW DO I KNOW WHEN THEY ARE HELD, SO I CAN ATTEND?
I UNDERSTAND PLATO MEMBERS CAN USE UW-MADISON LIBRARIES. HOW DO I GET A LIBRARY CARD?