Forever Bulldogs – Homecoming 2018

The Union University community gathered to celebrate alumni and current students during Homecoming weekend Nov. 1-3. Events included a 50 year reunion for the class of 1969, food and games on the Great Lawn, basketball and volleyball games and the crowning of the 2018 homecoming queen.

We’ve put together our favorite photos from the events of the weekend here for you all to enjoy.

Bulldog Olympics, student competition. Photos by Lynn Tucker

Class of 1969 welcome, mix and mingle. Photos by Kristi Woody

Homecoming chapel, featuring members of the Class of 1969 and the presentation of the gift from the Class of 1968. Photos by Kristi Woody

Meritorious Service Awards Banquet with 14 awards given. Photos by Kristi Woody

Bulldog Madness. Photos by Joey Echeverria

Basketball games: Lady Bulldogs vs. Martin Methodist and Bulldogs vs. Freed Hardeman. Photos by Riley Boggs and Kristi Woody

President’s Cup winners SAE; Mr. & Miss Union, Grant Allen and Corinne Olund; and Homecoming Queen 2018, Sallie Norman. Photos by Kristi Woody

Forever Bulldogs event on the Great Lawn. Photos by Joey Echeverria and Kristi Woody

Blank Slate Improv performance. Photos by Nikki Grim

Anthem Lights performance. Photos by Nikki Grim and Kristi Woody

Students Celebrate Arbor Day by Expanding Union Arboretum

Mark Bolyard, university professor of biology, and Michael Schiebout, associate professor of biology, went out this week with about 15 students to plant nine varieties of trees around campus to celebrate Arbor Day.

These additions bring the total trees in the Union University Arboretum to about 60. Students also helped place signs beside existing trees on campus, which will help educate visitors on what is planted here. Bolyard said he looks forward to continuing this tradition for Campus and Community Day each fall and Arbor Day each spring.

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The trees planted this week:

  1. Two Monkey Puzzle trees. These are endangered in their native range, and there are few of them planted in the state of Tennessee. They are unusual looking evergreen trees native to Chile (pictured above).
  2. Two small Catalpa trees, with plans to add a third one, which should become medium sized flowering trees.
  3. Shumard oak, which should have nice fall color.
  4. Burr oak
  5. Warei oak
  6. Black poplar
  7. Black Alder
  8. Kentucky coffee tree
  9. Basswood, which replaces a tree near the BAC that was struggling.

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Comm Arts Students Intern with MLK50 Event

Post by Austin Maddox, public relations major

I am a huge fan of several different Christian publications. Articles from websites such as Desiring God, Radical, The Gospel Coalition and the ERLC fill my news feeds from various social platforms throughout any given day.

Often, I will read an article that catches my attention, be inspired or convicted, and then share with close friends who I know will appreciate the content as well. There have even been times where we have joked about how incredible it would be to write and work for one of these publications alongside the great minds of John Piper, Kevin DeYoung or Russell Moore. What a dream that would be.

So, you can imagine how I felt when my adviser, Ashley Blair, offered me an internship with the ERLC for their MLK50 event in Memphis.

As soon as I receive the email, I freaked out. The ERLC? Are you kidding? I transferred from my community college in the fall of 2017 and had only been at Union University for a full semester at this point, and I was already getting unbelievable opportunities to serve in my desired field. It was nuts!

Of course, I accepted the offer, and on April 3-4, I woke up at 5:30 a.m., put on a tie (which felt super cool), and Corinne Olund and I headed to Memphis with nerves and excitement filling our spirits. The entire trip down we talked about what we would possibly be doing, as well as praising God for generously giving us such an amazing chance to work with a prestigious organization such as the ERLC.

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I can honestly say that those two days were probably some of the busiest of my life. As soon as we arrived, we met with Dan Darling, VP for communications for the ERLC, and talked about our life goals and why chose to study public relations. The meeting ended with a valuable offer for a recommendation whenever we needed one, and possible future job offers.

Afterwards, we worked alongside Elizabeth Bristow, press secretary for the ERLC. She showed us the ropes on her job during events like this, such as organizing the press that would come to interview the speakers, as well as keeping up with the buzz about the event on social media and writing press releases and emails. It was a very eye-opening experience.

Not only did we work hard, but we also got the opportunity to meet some of my personal role models, such as Russell Moore, Matt Chandler and John Piper. It was such a surreal experience.

After the work was done the last day, Corinne and I said our goodbyes to all of our new friends at the ERLC and headed back towards Union. The whole way home we talked about our experience, and how thankful we are for a school that values their students, knows them personally and matches them with opportunities that will further their professional careers and allow personal growth.

I can’t thank you enough, Union Communication Arts!

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Snow Days – January 2018

Union University has experienced an unusually snowy and cold January so far. The days off have given students and alumni in the area plenty of opportunities to get out and play in the snow. Here are a few of our favorite photos taken by our staff photographer, Kristi Woody, as well as photos submitted by students and alumni.

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Below are images submitted by students and alumni in the area.

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Biology professors host students for Be Our Guest event

Be Our Guest is an annual event where Union University faculty and staff host a group of students in their homes for an evening meal together.

Due to the popularity of Be Our Guest, we are now offering the program twice each academic year. 

Be Our Guest ranks as one of the most popular events SAC organizes each year. Students have shared that they love the chance to spend time with faculty and staff outside of the classroom and learn that their lives are more than academic pursuits. SAC truly hopes to encourage faculty/staff and student interaction, which we know contributes to student growth and retention.  As Lumiere from Beauty and the Beast sings, we trust the meals prepared are delicious, but we truly hope that the fellowship is enjoyable.

The following photos are from the home of Beth and Andy Madison, who hosted seven students at their home last Tuesday. Andy Madison is a professor of biology and Beth Madison is assistant professor of science in adult and professional studies.

Photos by Kristi Woody & Riley Boggs

Summer Music Camp

The Department of Music and the Community Music Center at Union University held their ninth annual Summer Music Camp this week. This camp for children grades 1-8 provides performance opportunities with expert clinicians, exposure to a wide variety of musical experiences, and a week of fun with friends.

All students sing in either the 1-5 grade or 6-8 grade choir, rehearsing several times during each day of camp. In addition, the younger students have a myriad of musical experiences with xylophones, handbells, piano, world drumming and beginning strings. Older students also participate in a variety of musical experiences in small groups including handbells, guitar, and technology.

Below are some photos of the many activities that camp participants enjoy throughout the week.

Honoring God Through Nursing – Student Reflection

Post by Amanda Couch, junior nursing major

Amanda Couch portraitExperiencing nursing school has taught me many things such as dedication, empathy, and faithfulness. Most importantly, I am learning to rely upon the Lord for my strength and peace, because every source other than Jesus is too easily depleted in comparison with the infinite depths of Christ’s love and grace — a fact I need reminding of every single second of every single day.

Honestly, nursing school is hard, making it tempting to complain; yet, it’s in those moments that I need God’s grace to remind me of what a blessing it is to be called to become a nurse and what a privilege it is to attend a school like Union that is dedicated to the spiritual wellbeing and professional success of its students.

Being a nurse affords the special opportunity to work one-on-one with a person who is often going through one of the worst parts of his or her life. In those moments of pain and suffering, the patient is looking for a source of assurance, pain relief, and explanation of what is going on and what is to be expected in the hours to come. It’s the nurse’s privilege to anticipate and meet these physical and psychological needs.

Yes, this may mean fulfilling the doctor’s orders for such things as medication administration or IV insertion, but it also entails meeting the seemingly “smaller” needs of patients such as simply being there for them and listening with an empathetic spirit or holding their hand during a painful procedure. For example, I still remember my first patient teaching me to place the rolling bedside table back in its original position prior to leaving the room if the table had been moved during a procedure so that he could reach his possessions. Caring could also mean offering to help tidy up the patient’s appearance before having visitors if the patient is unable to do so.

The point is to show God’s love in everything we do, remembering Christ’s words found in Matthew 25:40: “As you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (ESV). I would challenge you to identify specific and unique ways in which you can honor Christ in your chosen profession and then purposefully work “as for the Lord and not for men” every day of your life as you live as Christ’s ambassador (Colossians 3:23, ESV).

Nursing as a Calling – Student Reflection

Post by Rachel Edgren, senior nursing major

Rachel Edgren portraitI’ve wanted to be a nurse since I was in high school. As the older sister of three and the “mom” in many of my friend groups, I always enjoyed helping others. That, coupled with my curiosity, love for people and questioning nature, made nursing a fascinating and prospective choice for a career.

In the first week or two of nursing school one of my professors told the class that if we were here to simply make money, we were in the wrong profession. That struck me as poignant because for many going into the workforce, that is in fact the priority. However, for nursing there is something else that’s the ultimate goal. Going through each class, I began to learn more and more that nursing is the holistic care of a person. This particularly delighted me since I was passionate about the overall wellness of a being, such as emotional and spiritual health, and not just physical health.

In my short time as a nursing student working in the hospital, I have seen many different patients, each struggling with different physical, mental, spiritual and emotional ailments. Some patients have been difficult to care for, but all deserve love, kindness and respect.

I believe that nursing is the type of job that requires an overflow of love from the Lord. It is only when he pours into me that I am able to love and serve others with his love — the kind of love that does not give up and will bear all things.

Nursing is not merely a profession but a calling to the care and love of others, which was modeled best by Jesus. It is through him that I have the desire, compassion and patience to work toward becoming an excellent nurse. He is the one who has been with me each step of the way, and I know that he will continue to lead and restore me as I attempt to serve others.

Nurses, I believe, can be the very hands and feet of Jesus. Now that’s a calling I want to be a part of.

Why I Don’t Regret Choosing My Private College Education

Post by Kallan Parker, senior public relations major. 

kallanparkerMy senior year of high school consisted of a persistent mental battle between attending a public college very close to home or a private college a little further away. I wrestled between the ideas of graduating from the public college debt free or graduating from the school I loved with an evident chunk of debt. The public college’s “debt free aspect” was the only pro, in my mind, to attending. That environment was not what I wanted and not the place I needed to be in order to grow and network on my own. Needless to say, I chose the private college: Union University.

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Setting aside the fact that Union’s campus is beautiful and relatively new, their public relations program is accredited, academics are taken seriously, the faculty is caring, the students are friendly and the environment is encouraging and Christ-like. After day one at Union, I knew without a doubt that I made the right decision. Sure, I could have been set to graduate debt free from another school, but would I have been happy?… Not at all.

The truth is that college is four years of your life, which is much too long of a time to spend unhappy and much too short of a time not to take full advantage of each second. My college experience thus far is something that I would not trade for the world. I love my school. The people I have met, the professors I have had and the classes I have taken have all taught me so much. I have been allowed so many great networking opportunities that I would have never received if it were not for my decision to attend school at Union.

The truth is that college debt is temporary. College education is a worthy investment. I am currently enrolled in 1 of 37 PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) accredited undergraduate programs in the world. I love every faculty member in the Communications department and have gained wisdom from them that I feel certain I could not have learned anywhere else. I may leave with thousands of dollars in debt, but I will be leaving with the skill sets that I need in order to find a job to pay it all off. To be honest, I am happy with the idea of living in a cruddy apartment for a couple years after graduation and eating ramen noodles so that I can get my debt out of the way, if that is what it takes. I will leave Union University knowing that it was worth it to me and that I took full advantage of all my time. College is something you only get to do once, so you might as well choose the school you love.

The truth is that there is no price tag for a valuable experience. Even setting all of the educational classroom aspects aside, Union has its evident advantages. Nothing feels better than walking around campus with the knowledge that so many people around you are devout, God-fearing Christians. There are no words that express the level of gratitude for professors who not only lead by example in their careers but also in their walks with Christ. Being able to join campus organizations and Greek life without entering a stereotypical “ trashy, party scene” is great. Campus organizations are filled with students who share a common love for Christ. Because of that common bond, there is a sense of community on campus that I know I could not have found at the other school I was considering.

Not a day goes by that I regret my decision to attend a private university. I would not hesitate to pick Union again and again.

This post was originally published on The Odyssey in December 2015. 

9th annual Remember Me Commemorative Walk

Post by Theresa Blakley, professor of social work

The Remember Me Commemorative Event for Families of Homicide Loss began nine years ago.  

Dr. Mehr and I conduct a type of therapeutic support group (Restorative Retelling) for persons who have lost loved ones to homicide in and around West Tennessee. The group is free to the community and is operated out of the Trauma, Faith, and Resilience Initiative of The Center for Just and Caring Communities at Union University.

In one of the first groups we facilitated, members expressed how deeply they needed their community to know that their murdered loved ones were persons who were esteemed, cherished, beloved – that they were in the midst of chasing their dreams, ambitions, and managing their responsibilities when their lives were taken – and that they should not be forgotten.  

It was from this angst, the annual Remember Me Commemorative Event for Families of Homicide Loss was born. The event provides an avenue for families of homicide-loss to know that they are not alone, to have their pain and courage acknowledged by a caring community, and to walk in the name and memory of their lost loved one.

In this ninth year, we continue to hear that Remember Me has become the essential event where families of homicide loss annually gather to remember and honor their loved ones.

Many hold up photographs of lost loved ones as they walk around Union’s bell tower; some wear specially made tee shirts with photographs and messages of love.  Tears mingle with courageous smiles as families link arms in their walk of remembrance, vowing never to forget.  

As for Dr. Mehr and I, both survivors of homicide-loss, it is our way of never forgetting as well.  We have learned and have acted upon the lesson that so many who mourn know well:  Placed in the hands of God, no suffering is ever wasted.

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Photos by Kristi Woody