Organizational Behavior class presents to West TN Healthcare

A few weeks ago Laura Ladymon from West Tennessee Healthcare was invited to speak in Dr. Emily Lean’s Organizational Behavior course about problems they are having recruiting and retaining Millennial employees.

West Tennessee Healthcare is the largest employer in West Tennessee, so a high turnover rate with the majority of those leaving being Millennials was a serious concern for them. Over the course of several weeks, students prepared and presented their ideas to the class as to how they would improve the current strategies at West Tennessee Healthcare.

The best ideas and presenters were combined into one large presentation which was given in the J. Walter Barnes Auditorium at the Jackson Madison County General Hospital on Nov. 2. Junior and senior business students went before multiple WTH directors, human resources, benefits, and recruiting coordinators to offer their research findings and suggestions.

Additional interested community members such as individuals from the Chamber of Commerce were also in attendance at the presentation. The audience of approximately 100 people included many former and current Union MBA students. The presentation team was composed of Brooke Fisher, Gillian Gandy, Emily Swope, Matthew Grove, Blake Karnes, Daniel Turner, Casper Nyberg and Caleb DeMarigny. These students were the perfect example of professionalism and were excellent ambassadors for Union University.

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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

Student Life Photos

Over the past few weeks, our student photographers have been hard at work capturing events across campus. In between those assignments, they’ve also photographed many student life moments. Here are some fun photos from our four student photographers taken during their time on campus and during some Residence Life activities.

Photos by Elizabeth Wilson, Gretchen Foels, Morgan Morfe and Janelle Vest

Summer Music Camp 2016 Photos

Another successful Summer Music Camp wraps up today. The Department of Music has enjoyed teaching kids of all ages about music this week through choir and instrumental classes. It has been a wonderful week, and the students will practice what they’ve learned during a concert this evening for their friends and family.

Please enjoy these photos from the camp!

Alumna Celebrates Jackson Community

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Katie Howerton said Union taught her what community is and how important it is to the lives of the people within it.

“Union taught me how to care so much about the community I was in that now I feel inclined to care for the community I’m in at work,” she said.

Howerton is the communications manager for Our Jackson Home, an organization created to celebrate the people and the stories of Jackson, Tennessee. A 2015 Union graduate, Howerton worked on the design for the Our Jackson Home magazine as her senior project.

She said in her time in the Union community, she slowly developed a love for the Jackson community. After she graduated, she said she wanted to continue working for Our Jackson Home because of the way it speaks to Jackson.

“I knew I wanted to do it, but I knew it couldn’t just be a hobby,” Howerton said.

She said Our Jackson Home was run by volunteers, and they knew that if no one took over to run it full-time, it would not last long. They asked her if she would be interested.

“It could have become just this thing that happened in 2015 if nobody took over,” Howerton said. “They said, ‘Hey, we know that you may not be super confident, but we’re confident in you, and we’re willing to take a risk.’”

Howerton said she is glad to have had Union as a training ground for her professional career.

“On top of training to be a professional, I also was given plenty of room to be creative, which was what first allowed me to come up with the idea for Our Jackson Home (magazine) and continues to allow me to run it,” she said.

Howerton said her professors at Union gave her direction, but they also set her free to follow creative ideas. She said that has helped her as she continues to develop ideas for Our Jackson Home.

“I don’t feel aimless because I don’t have specific directions,” she said. “I’m comfortable allowing room to explore.”160422_KMW_KatieWorking009160422_KMW_KatieWorking014

Meet Our Students – Part 2

Union students work hard and set lofty goals. They enjoy building community, pursuing leadership roles and having fun. Here are just a few of the stellar students we would like you to meet.

Part 1


 

Reeves Garrett

Reeves Garrett – Biblical Studies major from Brownsville, Tennessee

“I like that Union’s community as a whole is pretty organic. Students build relationships because we’re a small campus – small enough that you can know a lot of people but big enough that you can always meet someone new.”

Learn more about Reeves here.

 


 

Emily Easter

Emily Easter – conservation biology major from Hendersonville, Tennessee

“I left Union [the day that I visited], and I remember thinking, ‘How am I ever going to decide where I want to go to school if every college campus feels like this?’ And none of the other ones ever did.”

Read more of Emily’s story here.

 

 


 

Joshua Stucky

Joshua Stucky – mathematics and computer science major from Maryville, Tennessee

“Having the skills that you learn in upper level mathematics allows me to better engage in theological discussions and philosophical discussions about God’s nature.”

Read more about Joshua here.

Students Share Christmas Traditions

The Christmas season is a season of traditions – decorations, music, food and spending time with friends and family. Some traditions are universal, and others are unique. A few Union students shared their favorite Christmas traditions.

Jameson Winter

“Each year my family gets together to celebrate Christmas. The older all of us kids get, the harder it becomes to have everyone in the same place, but we do our best. I suppose we don’t have many traditions, but we always enjoy our time together and we always have the best food. My mother is an exceptional cook and baker. Each year, she makes her apple pie from scratch, and it’s easily one of the greatest tastes I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying. Needless to say, it doesn’t last very long in our big family.”

Kelly Gwartney

“I love Christmas parties, Christmas food, making deliveries with my mom, giving gifts, playing games and most importantly celebrating the life of Jesus. One of my favorite holiday traditions is looking at Christmas decorations, lights and trees around the town or in Memphis and Nashville. My family and friends will travel to see big decorations in the Opryland or Peabody Hotel because it gets us in the Christmas spirit. I love to walk around and admire all of the time and hard work people put into making their Christmas decorations the best.”

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David Taylor

“My favorite Union Christmas tradition is the freshman council Christmas party, which I have been blessed to take part in twice: once when I served on freshman council and once when I served as freshman council mentor. Both times, Karen Taylor graciously opened her house to us and provided a meal. Freshman year, however, was an interesting experience. We always do a white elephant gift exchange, and the limit is five dollars. Unbeknownst to Karen, you can get a mouse from Petco for less than five dollars. Needless to say, when she realized that there was a mouse in one of the boxes, she went crazy and made us get the mouse out of her house. It was an experience I will never forget.”

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Thirteenth Annual Campus & Community Day

Today marks Union University’s thirteenth annual campus-wide service day. This is a time when faculty, staff, and students join together to give thanks to God for His protection over our campus during the 2002, 2003, and 2008 tornados. Most projects this year took place off campus, but a few groups of faculty and staff members worked around campus.

Members of Chi Omega chat with residents of Recency Retirement Village during a game of bingo.

The ladies of Chi Omega visited Regency Retirement Village to play bingo and visit with the residents.

“Volunteering, helping the residents is really fun, and they appreciate it so much…It’s really cool to get to come back and see people that you’ve seen before and get to talk to them and just to build relationships with the residents.” – Abigail Hamblen, sophomore nursing major

Abby Cox, a member of Chi Omega, gets to know residents of Recency Retirement Village during a game of bingo. Members of Chi Omega chat with residents of Recency Retirement Village during a game of bingo. Member of the cheer squad work on preparing art therapy materials at The Star Center

Members of the cheer squad volunteered at The Star Center by helping prepare art and music therapy materials and washing windows.

“Doing this shows people that great stuff is going on here is Jackson, and we’re here just to help in any way possible…Having these few friends with me to just kind of fellowship and get to know them more is really fun.” – Marcellous Jiles, junior education major

“I think that it’s so great and important because it’s tying Union back into the community…Not only are we helping the community and helping out the Star Center a little bit, but it’s also great to get to have that time to volunteer with friends.” – Sydney Fly, junior education major

Members of the cheer squad wash windows at The Star Center. Members of the cheer squad wash windows at The Star Center. Members of the cheer squad make labels for the music room shelves at The Star Center

A team of students led by the golf team refreshes a US map on the sidewalk outside of Alexander Elementary.

A group of students led by the golf team refreshed a US map on the sidewalk outside of Alexander Elementary.

“It’s just a great way to get in touch with the community and make sure that we’re involved just as much as they are with us.” – Trey Whitnell, senior accounting major

“For the community to come help Union the year we had the tornado, to come back out and help the community and us as a golf team to get together and work for others is pretty amazing. Working with my team and the few others that joined in with us is pretty fun too. We don’t always get to get together like this a lot.” – Joy Cooper, junior business management major

A team of students led by the golf team refreshes a US map on the sidewalk outside of Alexander Elementary.

A team of students led by the golf team refreshes a US map on the sidewalk outside of Alexander Elementary.

Gaye Christy works with fellow staff members to plant flowers at the West entrance of campus.

Faculty and staff members worked on campus planting flowers, weeding and trimming trees.

“What we are doing today is one of the basics for us. It’s part of who we are as a university — serving, giving, showing compassion.” – Dub Oliver, president of the university

Karen works with fellow staff members to plant flowers at the West entrance of campus. Dub Oliver helps trim trees along the Great Lawn.

Members of the executive council pose together after trimming trees along the Great Lawn

Story by Nathan Handley, Photos by Kristi Woody

Alumna Works for Food Justice in Jackson

Cari Griffith portrait
Cari Griffith, produce manager at Grubb’s Grocery in Jackson, said food justice is something that drives her every day, and it is a passion she discovered while a student at Union.

“My time at Union helped me challenge systems and think about what justice means,” she said. “It made me ask hard questions about food security and what poverty is in America.”

Cari graduated from Union in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations. She was heavily involved in starting ComeUnity Café, a café in downtown Jackson that focuses on helping people and fostering community by providing healthy food options and a place to gather.

Cari said the idea of food justice prompted her to work with the café as community garden manager.

“Healthy, sustainably produced food should be available to everyone, not just the rich,” Cari said.

She said she began diving into the idea of food justice during her junior year at Union. She went to the famers market and bought a tomato plant to grow.

“That one tomato plant turned into, hopefully, a lifetime of farming,” Cari said.

When she first started thinking about food justice, Cari said she thought of places like Africa. She did not realize that there were needs far closer to home.

“At first, I only saw this on a global scale. I thought I had to go to Africa to find those needs,” she said. “But in my four years in college, mostly through working with ministries at Union, I saw that there is a great need here in Jackson.”

In her new position at Grubb’s Grocery, Cari said she is learning more about the marketing side of growing food. She said she hopes to continue providing ways for people with lower income to eat healthy, sustainable food.

Story by Nathan Handley, Photos by Kristi Woody

Cari Griffith picking sweet potatoes in the ComeUnity Cafe garden.

Campus and Community- A Day of Remembrance and Service

Post by Matthew Marshall, director for service and diversity initiatives

Philippians 2 tells us that we are to always live with the mind of Christ, who although He was God, became a servant for our sake.  So, we are to do likewise by offering ourselves in service to others.  Campus and Community Day is just one example of how we get to do that.  At times Christianity can get a bad rap in the media, so what a great opportunity to demonstrate some of the good we do, the love we demonstrate and the merciful God we serve.

Campus and Community: A Day of Remembrance and Service also allows Union to show its appreciation to the community in return for its assistance to us after tornadoes hit our campus in 2002, 2003, and 2008.  It gives us the opportunity to say to the community, “Thank you!”  It also affords us yet another occasion to tangibly embody the mission of the University to serve church and society.  On this day our campus can follow in the way of Christ by placing others above ourselves, and serving even as He served.

We had about 900 volunteers go out into the community to serve, and they worked at over 50 different locations.  Faculty, staff and students served at retirement villages, local schools, churches, shelters, and at private residences.

More information about Campus and Community Day can be found in the official news release

Photos below by Kristi Woody, web design specialist, and MiKalla Cotton, student photographer.

Students work at ROAR, an after school program Tina Netland mops the floor during a service project Students do yard work at East Elementary School Morgan Morfe helps with yard work for Campus and Community Day Scott Heit tapes off a room to be painted during a service project A group from the university paints a room at ROAR, an after school program Students and staff work together on a service project Students work on a community service project at an elementary school