Meet Our Student Bloggers

Throughout this semester, we’ve had a few students pen some blog posts about their first year at Union. The students have done a great job portraying what it’s like to be here, and we are looking forward to hearing even more from them next semester. We thought it would be nice to have a proper introduction to these wonderful students who have given so willingly of their time to blog for us, so without further ado, meet our bloggers!

Josiah Murphy headshot Josiah Murphy, freshman Christian studies major.

  • Favorite food in the Brewer Dining Hall – corn nuggets
  • Favorite place to go in Jackson – Waffle House
  • Favorite movie – Forrest Gump
  • Hidden talent – It’s still hidden from me!
  • Farthest I’ve travelled – Jamaica
  • Why I picked Union – I picked Union because during my visit I met a group with whom I immediately connected and wanted to spend time. My sister also attended Union and the school treated us all like family and I really appreciated that.
  • Extracurricular Activities – Greek life; Student Ambassador; Buster the Bulldog mascot

Chandler Bell headshot Chandler Bell, freshman accounting major

  • Favorite band – Coldplay
  • Favorite food in the Brewer Dining Hall – Wrap Wednesday
  • Favorite place to go in Jackson – Kroger
  • Favorite book – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Hidden talent – It wouldn’t be hidden if I told you
  • Farthest I’ve travelled – El Salvador
  • Why I picked Union – The community here is something you can’t find anywhere else.  You’re genuinely cared for.
  • Extracurricular Activities – Freshman council and Greek Life

EmilyJohnson-200 Emily Johnson, freshman biology major

  • Favorite band – Right now, probably the Oh Hellos, although it will likely change in a week!
  • Favorite food in the Brewer Dining Hall – the mac and cheese, for sure
  • Favorite place to go in Jackson – I enjoy going to Alba, a coffee shop downtown. It is definitely the best place to study off campus. Plus, their coffee is incredible!
  • Favorite book – Right now, one of my favorite books is Manalive by G.K. Chesterton.
  • Hidden talent – I am creepily adept at picking objects up with my feet.
  • Farthest I’ve travelled – The glorious Rocky Mountains in Colorado.
  • Why I picked Union – Both my sisters had the privilege of attending Union, and I fell in love with it through them! Union is genuinely Christ-centered, and the community is welcoming and encouraging. I can’t imagine going to school anywhere else!
  • Extracurricular Activities – Student Government Association

StevenCutliff-200Stephen Cutliff, freshman international business major

  • Favorite band – Maroon 5, Rascal Flatts, and Mumford And Sons
  • Favorite food in the Brewer Dining Hall – pepperoni pizza and french fries
  • Favorite place to go in Jackson – movie theater (Jackson 16)
  • Favorite book – the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher
  • Hidden talent – I’m really flexible
  • Farthest I’ve travelled – Neply, Haiti
  • Why I picked Union – I really wanted to go to a Christian college. Union seemed like a college that really cared about me. They also offered good scholarships and I was able to get a job on campus.
  • Extracurricular Activities – Student Activities Council and Men’s Choir

Yee Eun Lee headshot Yee Eun Lee, freshman pre-professional major

  • Favorite musician – Bruno Mars
  • Favorite food in the Brewer Dining Hall – chocolate ice cream
  • Favorite place to go in Jackson – Alba (coffee shop downtown)
  • Hidden talent – rugby, I was on my high school’s team
  • Farthest I’ve travelled – Philippines and Korea
  • Why I picked Union – God called me to come to Union
  • Extracurricular Activities – BIOME, SMACS (American Chemical Society), and the International Students Organization

First Year at UU – Deep-Fried Oreos and Freshman Experiences

Emily Johnson Portrait

Post by Emily Johnson, freshman biology major

Some days are good because your favorite song comes on the radio; some days are good because a quiz you forgot about is canceled; and some days are good because your residence building dominates in an epic battle of tug of war.

Tuesday, October 14 was one of those days.

Every year, the freshmen of Heritage Residence Complex compete in the highly momentous Deep-Fried Olympics with their fellow building residents.  As you might infer, the theme of the competition is decidedly Southern.  The evening provides an opportunity for everyone to unleash their inner “country girl/boy,” and flannel, overalls, and a plethora of camouflage are the preferred dress.  The first event, an obstacle relay race, involves a tire run and a trash-sack hurdle.  Next on the agenda is a Cricket Spit (yes, the crickets are alive and hopping), followed closely by a potato sack race.  The grand finale is a merciless tug of war. As teams prepared for battle, the intensity was palpable.  Everything hinged on this one event. The quiet before the “GO!” was broken only by hoarse commands to “Pull with your legs!” The competition was intense and laughter was loud as residents were hauled across the sopping wet grass.

As the points were being tallied, students merrily consumed corn-dogs and Oreos (properly deep-fried, of course).  A few began dancing to an impromptu Cotton-Eyed Joe.  When Resident Director Tim Call, emcee of the event, cleared his throat to begin the awards ceremony, a drumroll swelled. Apartments such as the Lads of Lee, the Dehoney Bees, the Men of Grey and the Beauties of Craig were suddenly united in their anticipation.  Surrounded by my fellow first-years, I was struck by the sense of camaraderie.

Union places most freshmen in the Heritage Residence Complex for the purpose of fostering community among first-year students. We are all sharing similar experiences of prolonged group projects, never-ending laundry and Olympics that are Deep-Fried. We are living life together. The Heritage complex at Union enables freshmen to share with one another the struggles, joys, and changes that inevitably make up freshman year. The Deep-Fried Olympics is just one of many events that freshmen get to experience together.

The first awards went to the best costumes, evoking much laughter and applause from the crowd of hillbillies. Tim Call next revealed the third and second place apartments, and they mounted the shaky victors’ platform of tires. Silence fell as Tim paused for dramatic effect. Finally he declared, “And our first place prize, the coveted Golden Toilet Seat, goes to: GREY AND CRAIG!” As the grimy champions shouted for joy and embraced one another, my RA proudly brandished the gilded testament to our victory. Covered in mud and shuddering in the October chill, I had never been prouder to be a Union freshman.

Photos of Deep Fried Olympics by MiKalla Cotton

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Lest We Forget: A New Tradition

Post by Jared Dauenhauer, assistant director of student leadership & engagement 

One of my favorite places on campus is the Carl Grant Events Center. It houses one of the best places I’ve found to meditate and reflect, Heritage Center. Most of us at Union may take a glance or two at this place, and I believe many of us, myself included, have failed to recognize its significance.

Heritage Center contains a visual timeline that spans three walls and almost 200 years of Union University history. I look at the faces and think of the stories of a time past at Union. When I look at the faces of past leaders and past students, I’m instantly reminded of a scene from one of my favorites movies: Dead Poet’s Society. In this scene, Mr. Keating has his students look to the students of the past and try to understand their legacy.

It is incredibly important to remember the past and the legacy that has been passed down to us. It makes us think about what legacy we will pass down. It’s the same question I ask myself when I visit the halls and annals of Union’s storied past. When I look at that timeline, I wonder what keeps us going? What is so important that we must continue to keep our doors open to generation after generation of students? Why have we rebuilt from fires, wars and tornadoes? What legacy or what story is really being told here?

Recently I sat down with students and staff members to answer these questions. Together we poured through old newspapers, yearbooks and documents trying to ultimately determine what legacy is being whispered to us. As in that scene you just watched, I believe there came about a moment in each of our journeys that we leaned into our past and heard: “Lest We Forget.” In research of this phrase we found homages to old poems and many wartime references to soldiers that had fallen in wars. While the phrase does not find it roots in our direct past, Union has certainly adopted it.

Unfortunately, we do the very thing that this phrase tells us not to do. We forget that the legacy Union plays a role in didn’t start in 1823 with the creation of the Jackson Male Academy. We fail to see the timeline that stretches beyond our almost 200-year history. Union’s story has always been the story of God’s faithfulness through Christ. Yes, there have been many faithful men and women in the legacy of Union, but they want us to look at the faithfulness of God as seen through our institution. They want us to see God’s work here, God’s faithfulness that was in place before Union University existed.

The thing about stories and legacies is that they are forgotten when they are not frequently read or expressed. Inspired by this reflection on Union’s past, an event was born that is to be held at the beginning of every academic year. What did we call it? You guessed it… Lest We Forget.

During this new tradition, we practice, we remember and we set ourselves up to continue to remember what the Lord has done for us. The details of this tradition are for those who have the honor of ever being a Unionite, but the message is for everyone reading this post. When we look to Union, when we look to our past and look to our future, we see the hands of God pointing us to Christ. As members of this institution we join in Union’s legacy and in the greater story propelled by our Creator, and we tell it to the world. When we forget, as we are apt to do, we see the loving words of our Lord echoing, whispering through the men and women who came before us, saying “Lest We Forget.”

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