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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Top Ten Photos of 2017

Throughout the year, staff photographer Kristi Woody and four student photographers took more than 40,000 photos documenting life at Union University. Here are 10 photos from 2017 that give an overview of the year at Union. We are looking forward to even more great moments in 2018!

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For Variety Show, members of Chi Omega performed a Mario-themed number complete with Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach. Their performance won them first place in the large group category. Photo by Gretchen Foels.

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Dr. Dub Oliver, president of the university, walks out of The Logos with Buster the Bulldog. Photo by Kristi Woody.

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Members of the Bulldog soccer team celebrate after scoring a goal against Auburn University Montgomery. Photo by Hannah Heckart.

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The New Respects, who Rolling Stone described as “funky, exuberant blues-rock,” performed in Barefoots Joe in the fall. Photo by Gretchen Foels.

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On Aug. 21, Jackson experienced 96 percent totality during a solar eclipse. The event coincided with Welcome Week, so new students gathered on the Great Lawn to observe the eclipse. The physics department gave a short presentation and had viewing instruments out for use. Photo by Kristi Woody.

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The Union University players performed in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead under the direction of David Burke, professor of theatre, in the W.D. Powell Theatre. Photo by Kristi Woody.

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Each building in the residence life complexes forms a team of students that competes for points throughout the year. These points are tallied up at the end of the spring semester, and the Union Cup is awarded to the team with the most points. The final event in the competition is Field Day, where students compete in a balloon toss. Photo by Kristi Woody.

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Fireworks go off at the conclusion of Union Night during Family Weekend. Photo by Kristi Woody.

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Undergraduate Admissions passed out free stadium horns during a community appreciation event at a soccer game. This event coincided with Bulldog Days so several prospective students had the opportunity to enjoy a Bulldog sporting event during their stay. Photo by Kristi Woody.

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The Student Government Association hosted a Christmas tree lighting outside of The Logos with the hope that it will become a new Union tradition. Students sang a few Christmas songs and enjoyed some hot chocolate before the tree was lit. Photo by Kristi Woody.

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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Interprofessional Mega-Simulation

171111_KMW_InterdisciplinarySimulation_022Union University held its first interprofessional mega-simulation Nov. 11. Interprofessional Education (IPE) occurs when students learn about, from and with other health care providers.

This IPE learning activity was designed to allow health care professional students from the College of Pharmacy, the School of Nursing and the School of Social Work to work together to provide patient care. Additionally, students from the theater department made this simulation more life-like by serving as family members of the patient. The objective of the simulation was to allow students to demonstrate IPE competencies to practice as collaborative health care team members.

171111_KMW_InterdisciplinarySimulation_037Forty health care teams that participated in the simulation, each composed of one or two students from each of the three disciplines. As the students worked together to provide care for their patient and for family members, this simulation allowed them to identify not only their own roles and responsibilities, but also those of other team members.

During debriefing sessions after the simulation exercise, students described the activity with words such as fun, intense, stressful, challenging and confidence booster. Students said the activity increased their realization of the importance of communication and collaboration in providing patient care.

They also walked away from the activity with a greater appreciation of the other disciplines on their team. Students reported that they better understand the importance of relationships with other health care team members and learned skills that will help them in their future practice.

Post by Kim Lindsey-Goodrich, photos by Kristi Woody

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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

Building names in Heritage honor former Baptist leaders

As freshmen start their first year at Union University, most live in the freshman housing of the Heritage Residence Complex. Each of the buildings in this complex is named after a prominent figure in Union’s history. Many of these men served on the university’s Board of Trustees, and most held prominent positions in other areas of Southern Baptist life. Their names on the buildings of the Heritage Residence Complex serve as reminders of the impact they had on Union and on Baptist history.

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Craig – Robert Craig was president of Union University from 1967-1986. He was Union’s longest serving president and led the university in its move from downtown Jackson to its current location. He also served as president of Southwest Baptist University and East Texas Baptist University.

Dehoney –Wayne Dehoney was the pastor of First Baptist Church in Jackson during the 1950s and 1960s, during which time he served on the Board of Trustees at Union. He also served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1965-1966.

Dodd –M. E. Dodd graduated from Union and became the pastor of First Baptist Church of Shreveport, Louisiana.  He served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1934-1935 and led in the development of the Cooperative Program, the major funding initiative for Southern Baptist missions and ministries.

Grey – J. D. Grey was a graduate of Union who served for many years as pastor of First Baptist Church of New Orleans, Louisiana. He served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1952-1953.

Jarman – The Jarman family was a generous benefactor of Union. They founded Genesco, a large shoe manufacturing company in Nashville, and their financial contributions helped Union relocate the campus and build the Penick Academic Complex in 1975.

Lee – R.G. Lee was the pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis from 1927-1960 and was president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1949-1951. He served on the Board of Trustees of Union and is widely remembered for his sermons and books.

Paschall – H. Franklin Paschall was a graduate of Union who served as the pastor of First Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, from 1956-1983. He also served on the Board of Trustees of Union and as president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1967-1968.

Pollard –Ramsey Pollard was pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church from 1960-1972. He served as chairman of the Board of Trustees for Union during the time that the university bought the land for the current campus.  He also served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1960-1961.

Rogers – Adrian Rogers was pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church from 1972-2005 and served on the Board of Trustees at Union.  He was a prominent leader in the Southern Baptist Convention’s conservative resurgence and served twice as president of the Southern Baptist Convention, from 1979-1980 and from 1987-1988.

Sullivan – James L. Sullivan was a pastor and denominational leader who served on the Board of Trustees for Union. From 1953-1975, he served as president of the Southern Baptist Sunday School Board (now LifeWay Christian Resources).

Wright –Frances E. Wright was a professor of education and academic dean at Union during the 1950s and 1960s and served as the university’s president from 1963-1967. He also served as the first president of Jackson State Community College.

*Former Union Vice President Bob Agee provided much of the background information for this story.

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Story by Nathan Handley, photos by Kristi Woody

Boston trip provides inside look at PR in action for communication arts students

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Post by Anna Claire Sewell, PRSSA President
Photos by Ashley Fitch Blair and Shelby Kee

As I glanced around at my peers on the flight home, I couldn’t help but think about what an awesome experience we had in Boston. As students in Union University’s communication arts department, we are presented with opportunities through our PRSSA chapter that are not only educationally enriching, but also exciting.

PRSSA, Public Relations Student Society of America, is an on-campus organization that allows students to lead and learn through the integration of knowledge and professional development. Along with a day trip to meet with communication professionals in the fall, Union’s PRSSA chapter takes a trip to a larger market during the spring semester.

During our stay in Boston, we met with communication specialists in three different areas of the field. The first morning there was freezing — actually, quite below freezing. It did not faze us! We grabbed our coffee and were excited for the day ahead.

Our first meeting was with Shawn McBride, executive vice president of sports at Ketchum Sports & Entertainment. McBride shared about his love of working in a fast-paced international PR firm and gave us advice as we enter the work force.

A few short train rides later, we found ourselves stepping into a broadcast dreamland. The communications team at WGBH Boston gave us a behind-the-scenes look at how they handle strategic communication for such a large station. Here’s the most exciting part: WGBH Boston produces one-third of the national programming on PBS. A few of the shows produced by this station include Arthur, Zoom, Antiques Roadshow, The American Experience and NOVA!

To see the amount of work put into the shows I enjoyed throughout my childhood into adulthood really put my future career into perspective. This visit showed me that while I will only be one communications specialist, my work has the potential to affect millions of people.

Our list of professional visits concluded T.K. Skenderian, director of communication for the Boston Athletic Association and its signature event, the Boston Marathon. This meeting provided us with a chance to ask questions about nonprofit work and crisis communication. Skenderian shared some powerful insights through his experience with the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing on how to carefully handle crisis communication during a tragedy. From that experience, Skenderian tied in his love for working for a cause bigger than himself.

In addition to the professional development aspect of the trip, we also spent some time checking out historical sites and taking in the local flare that Boston has to offer. From the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum visit, to the multiple cannoli consumed, to the large amounts of coffee purchased to keep us warm in the cold wind, we got a small glimpse at how Boston culture plays into the work environments in the Northeast.

When I decided to declare my major as public relations, I had no idea how many doors could be opened with a degree in the communications field. Our trip to Boston provided each member of PRSSA the chance to dive deeper into what exactly it means to be a communication professional. This Boston experience was an excellent way to top off my time at Union with peers who have become friends and professors who have become mentors.

As I picked up my bags at the airport to head back to Jackson, I left with a feeling of purpose and excitement for what is ahead for me and each of my fellow communications majors.

Make Yourself Make: An Art Student’s Reflection

Post by Mary Scarlett Greenway, senior art major

In January I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in Europe with a great group of students – including fellow members of the art department. During our 11-day trip, we visited many great artistic and historical sites in Paris, Venice, Florence, Pisa and Rome.

As an art student seeking Art History credit, this was a dream. Getting to graduate on time by visiting practically the art capitals of the world seemed like cheating…and I wasn’t going to waste the opportunity. I wanted to remember every second and soak in each unique city as much as I could in such a short time.

In every city that I visited, I created a typography piece with the name of the city and held it up in front of an iconic landmark or scene (or at least, I did my best to do that – it really is hard to stop and take a picture of your journal when your leader moves at about 40 miles an hour and will leave you behind).

 

A project like this was incredibly fun and challenging – trying to capture the personality of a city in letter forms (without smudging anything on a rattling train).

In addition to my typography pieces, two other art students (Kayli Sommers and Josh Smith) and I agreed to make a conscious effort to sit down and sketch something in each city. So we did. We sketched the Arc de Triomphe, the courtyard of statues in the Louvre, Michelangelo’s statue of David in Florence, the Trevi Fountain in Rome and many others.

As an art student, the discipline of sketching things you see is often a hard one to hold yourself to – it’s at once a desire and a chore. But I cannot overstate how important and fulfilling it is to make it an instinct.

Despite all the little mistakes, I captured my experience in my journal in a way that I never could have with my camera. I remember every little side stop and place we got lost and times I almost cried (sometimes because of hunger but usually out of excitement and awe). I remember every bridge we crossed and alley we took and staircase we climbed (the stairs, the STAIRS). I remember all the shops – the little old print maker and the woman who made pigments and the aggressive leather salesmen in the streets.

Though I loved seeing every landmark and museum and cathedral, one of my favorite aspects of this trip was simply exploring the cities in our free time. My favorite city to explore was Venice by far. Never in my life have I seen such a cinematic city. Every back alley, every uneven street, every clothes line, every stretch of ivy, every hole-in-the-wall cannoli shop – they seemed so accidentally and authentically beautiful. I wanted to take all of it with me.

Hands down, I have never been on such an inspiring, exhausting, creatively stimulating trip in my life. Even if you aren’t an art student, I encourage you to draw something. Write something. Anything. Take down what you see and what you find interesting or funny or odd – no matter how trifling it seems. Don’t rely on Instagram or Facebook to keep your memories for you. Life reminds you how rare and beautiful it is when you don’t just look, but see. To my fellow art students, keep making.

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Follow Mary Scarlett on Instagram for more images of her impressive work: @mary.scarlett