JACKSON, Tenn. – Aug. 28, 2006 – After moving into her dorm room for the first time and while shopping for textbooks for the upcoming semester, Union University freshman Mary Annis didn’t seem anxious about starting a new chapter in her life.
“It still feels like a vacation,” said Annis, from Belchertown, Mass. “The staff and students have all been really nice.”
Annis is one of 440 freshman beginning classes at Union University this week. On Aug. 26, a team of Union faculty, staff and upper classmen greeted the new class of students on Freshman Move-In Day by helping them unpack their belongings and get settled into their new life.
“Move-In Day is designed to be helpful from the beginning so students understand that Union tries to be a helpful culture the entire time they’re here,” said Kimberly Thornbury, Union’s dean of students. “It’s our intention to put people at ease and to reduce anxiety during those first few days of school.”
Mac Juvette, a freshman from Fort Worth, Texas, studying pre-physical therapy, enthusiastically said that he’d been “waiting a long time” to move in. He was glad the day had finally arrived, and described it as one of the greatest days in his life.
After unpacking, the new students had the opportunity to purchase their textbooks, visit financial aid, meet in small “Focus” groups for orientation, have a picnic dinner and participate in a worship service for the entire Union family.
Todd Brady, minister to the university, spoke to students about the importance of “continuing in Christ” and the Christ-centered mission of Union University.
“The goal is not to be religious,” Brady said. “The goal is to be Christian. Our goal is that Christ be the foundation and the focus of your experience here.”
Throughout the first week on campus, Union provides new students with opportunities to get acquainted with their classmates and ask questions about various aspects of campus life.
“Orientation is designed to foster relationships, be informative and build class identify and community,” Thornbury said. “Everything is going well.”
With reporting by Heidi Steinrock