We are offering three classes for ESI College Online’s March-April 2023 term, serving those age 60 and older. Registration is open, and classes begin March 15.

Course Listings

(Please click on course titles for more information)

John Berninghausen, U.S.-China Relations: History, Growing Rivalry and the Enduring Issue of Taiwan. Wednesdays, March 15, 22, 29: 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $60

John Elder, Book Group: Braiding Sweetgrass. Thursday, April 6, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $20, and buy your own book

Robert Wyatt, Walt Disney. Tuesday, April 25, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ~ $20


Register for classes over the Internet! Simply click here:


  • We use an online registration system named “Wufoo” that provides an easy-to-use form to select your classes.
  • Please sign up at least 48 hours in advance so we can be in touch with you about the class.
  • Some classes have limited enrollment; others have readings. 
  • Each person in your household must register separately. If you share the same email address, simply fill out a separate form for each person.
  • The registration system calculates the amount owed on a per person basis ($20 per session, per person; $50 per person for a three-session book group). The total cost for your classes will be listed when you complete your registration. 
  • Some courses may require you to purchase books that will be available at the Vermont Book Shop at a discounted price.
  • After you submit your form, you will receive an automated email confirmation from “Elderly Services-ESI College <no-reply@wufoo.com>.”

Payment Options

  • You may pay by check. Please send it (within a week of registration) to:
    Elderly Services-ESI College
    P.O. Box 581
    Middlebury, VT 05753
  • Or, you may make a debit/credit card payment via PayPal, as you complete the online registration form. You do not need a PayPal account to use this feature.

Connecting Online

  • To participate you’ll need a computer, tablet, iPad, Chromebook, or smartphone with Zoom set up on it. A device with a webcam is preferable so people can see you. 
  • We email you a Zoom link for each class in the morning of each day’s class.
  • We don’t want technology to be a barrier! Please call us (802.388.3983) or email (college@elderlyservices.org) to learn more and schedule an appointment as we would be happy to help.

Day-of-Class Technical Support

  • We have technical support for every class session. 
  • If you bump into any issues on the day of the class, please do not hesitate to call our support line at 802.349.2686. Please note: This is a new support line number we use only during class sessions.

We look forward to seeing you online!

Kristin Bolton
Jeff Rehbach
Geetha Wunnava

Course Listings for March-April 2023

U.S.-China Relations: History, Growing Rivalry and the Enduring Issue of Taiwan
Instructor: John Berninghausen
Dates: Wednesdays, March 15, 22, 29
Time: 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Cost: $60

Description: Long before the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, China and the United States have frequently played an outsized role in each other’s history, foreign policies, trade relations, domestic politics, security concerns and geopolitical calculations. This course will explore the complications of the Sino-American relationship. Considerable focus will be given to the enduring dilemma, for both the PRC and the U.S., posed by Taiwan. The large island is just 100 miles off the coast of China, and its government, the Republic of China, has been a long-term partner of the U.S., as well as a robust democracy and successful capitalist economy for decades.

Instructor: After earning his Ph.D. at Stanford, Professor Emeritus of Chinese John Berninghausen established Middlebury College’s Department of Chinese Language and Literature. Along with teaching Chinese, he led popular seminars on Western and Asian literature. An avid reader, he collects Chinese paintings and is a world traveler.

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Book Discussion: Braiding Sweetgrass
Instructor: John Elder
Date: Thursday, April 6, 2023
Time: 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Cost: $20 (and buy your own book)

Description: In this well-loved book, Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer’s emphasis on reciprocity with the earth and her chapter on the Great Thanksgiving have profound implications for how we need to lead our lives, both individually and as an earth-oriented community. Such transformation will be essential to our collective capacity to change our economic system as well as help us gain humility and wisdom in our use of technology. Braiding Sweetgrass is available at a discount through the Vermont Book Shop for $17.

Instructor: John Elder taught English and Environmental Studies at Middlebury College for 37 years. He also taught for many summers at the Bread Loaf School of English and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. He and his wife, Rita, live in Bristol.

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The Musical Genius of Walt Disney
Instructor: Robert Wyatt
Date: Tuesday, April 25
Time: 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Cost: $20

Description: When most people think of Walt Disney, they think of his movies, but the movies would not have achieved greatness without the songs. Disney’s musical genius was not in writing music but in gathering composers, musicians, artists and writers to weave songs into the films, so they were an integral part of the story. Enjoy learning about the magic music has made in more than 75 years of Disney films.

Robert Wyatt is a Steinway Artist who has performed throughout the United States and internationally, gathering critical acclaim for sensitive and colorful solo and chamber music recitals. He delights audiences with a rare blend of pianistic savvy and engaging storytelling that makes each performance a creative event.

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