JACKSON, Tenn. – Aug. 16, 2013 – For Caleb Dahl, the new student move-in day Aug. 16 at Union University was not his first. Dahl, a freshman electrical engineering major from St. Paul, Minn., said he helped his older brother and sister, now Union alumni, unload their belongings when they moved onto campus as freshmen.
But this year, Dahl was the sibling to start his life at Union.
“I’ve been around here a lot with both of my siblings,” Dahl said. “But it’s a little strange being the one to move in.”
About 550 freshmen and transfer students were welcomed to campus by groups of upperclassmen, who cheered and waved as the new students and their families arrived. New students then unloaded their vehicles with the help of hoards of fellow students, faculty and staff.
Rachel Brewer, a freshman engineering major from Collierville, Tenn., said she chose to come to Union because of the sense of community she felt when she visited campus during high school.
“I love how it’s so close and everyone knows one another,” Brewer said about Union. “It’s almost like a family.”
The sense of community continued when she arrived on move-in day, as Brewer said volunteers helped move all of her belongings to her second-floor room the moment she opened her car door.
After settling into their residence complexes, new students started preparation for the upcoming semester by purchasing textbooks, gathering for a welcome from President David S. Dockery and beginning a four-day orientation program called Focus.
Todd Brady, vice president for university ministries, spoke in a special chapel service for new students and their families in the G.M. Savage Memorial Chapel. Brady encouraged the students to make the most of their university years by practicing the spiritual disciplines and by "leaning in" to their university experience.
“During your time here, you will be encouraged to think Christianly about all things,” Brady said. “Lean in. Engage your mind. Think. Learn to think as God would have you think. Not only will you be different in this world, God will use you to make a significant difference in this world.”
The Christ-centered core value of the university was one reason that Thomas Gray, a freshman broadcast journalism major from Little Rock, Ark., had Union “on the radar” during his search for a college.
Gray added that visiting Union helped him decide to attend, as he enjoyed immersing himself in the academic programs and meeting students, faculty and staff.
“I really saw a lot of students who had a passion for Christ, and the people I met here were all extremely friendly,” Gray said. “I feel like this community is a serving community.”
By Beth Byrd