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 Jacque Smith, Director of Public Relations

Outlook - June/July 2005

Uniquely Union

by Laura Poblete
At Union, college isn’t about blending in—it’s about discovering personal potential. Seizing opportunities. Building the confidence to lead. Whatever students have in mind, Union’s supportive environment is designed to empower their passions. Here, professors value personal interaction with their students. Faith is genuine. Friends encourage each other to get involved. And each person’s distinctive strengths determine the impact he or she will make. These experiences are best described through the voices of Union College students.

“I was always surprised to talk with my friends here because they were actually attending Associated Student Body events, chapels and other school activities — and enjoying them. People are so friendly here. I have watched students playing Frisbee outside as they invite anyone walking by to join in — including teachers who sometimes actually play.”
Leslie deFluiter is an international rescue and relief, nursing and religion major from Hendersonville, Tennessee. After transferring from a larger university where she shied away from most activities, Leslie was excited to find a comfortable, welcoming environment at Union.

“Helping others is part of our earthly Christian journey and Union has enabled me to serve by providing the opportunities. Each week I get to be a positive influence for kids who need mentors. Without Union I probably would have never had this experience.”
Scott Murray is a business administration and computer information systems major from Arlington, Texas. He volunteers weekly at a children’s recreation center, playing games with kids and helping them with homework. Scott also enjoys his involvement with the Union College Octet and Campus Ministries activities.

“My mentors here have prepared and given me the opportunity to grow into a leader. Just as God equips us with the talents and gifts that we utilize every day to praise Him, so Union College equips its students with the skills to become leaders and then shares enthusiastically in our successes.”
Ashley Bohlender, from Loveland, Colorado, is pursuing a personalized degree called communications and human relationships, combining psychology, religion and communication studies. Ashley is the director of General Conference ambassadors. In this capacity she has organized and trained approximately 45 Union College students to operate the information desks at the 2005 General Conference session in St. Louis.

“Our minds have been stretched and expanded in Union Scholars classes, but not just about history or English or science. The program emphasizes real world application—not only how to be successful in our careers, but how to be successful Christians.”
Justin Okimi is a math and English major and Union Scholar from Ontario, Canada. His passion for service has led him to coordinate the college community service day for three years. Justin trains other students to lead through his position as student chaplain.

“I was always involved in school and church activities during childhood and academy, yet I never imagined that in college I would have the opportunities and experiences I have had. I believe Union provided the atmosphere for me to grow and mature into the leader I am today.”
Sissel Schlisner is a business administration major from Madison, Tennessee. After serving in Prague as a student missionary, Sissel continued developing her leadership skills as campus hostess, where she arranged guest visits to Union’s campus, and as president of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE).

“In my country, teachers were just teachers. Here, they can also be my friends. When I have a problem in my life, my teachers help me. They even invite me to their home for lunch. I also like how spiritual Union is. When the sun sets on Friday evening, I hear the chimes and I know it is Sabbath. I go to vespers with my friends and there are no temptations.”
Fiona Chan is an English as a Second Language student from Hong Kong. When she first arrived at Union in January 2005, Fiona hardly spoke English; she now understands 70-80 percent of what is said in class. She enjoys learning about new cultures from a variety of friends in her ESL classes and many American friends. She loves the campus environment with colorful flowers and lots of squirrels. Fiona plans to pursue a dietetics degree after completing her English learning requirements.

“The day I stepped on campus I started to make friends, not only with the students but with the faculty as well. I am not a Seventh-day Adventist, but I regularly attend vespers and Sabbath services and truly treasure the relationship Union has helped me establish with God. To have stumbled upon this place has been a gift from the Lord; I feel Union is where He wanted me all along.”
Adam Dobbins is a communication major from Des Moines, Iowa. He transferred to Union after dropping out of college his junior year, feeling his education lacked direction. While visiting his girlfriend, Melissa (now fiancé), who attended Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Adam drove by Union College and was intrigued by the beauty of the campus. Searching for the right college and desiring to live closer to Melissa, he scheduled a campus visit and was impressed by the kindness of the people.

“One friend saw that when I stopped running on Sabbath, I was still okay. I didn’t go broke. He liked the way I was living on the Sabbath and now he also doesn’t run on Saturday. If you make a decision for God, He will be there for you. I’m happy to be at Union, and I’m happy to keep the Sabbath.”
Hosea Mutai is a business administration major from Kenya. As a professional runner, he became wealthy in Kenya by winning lucrative Saturday races. Although he grew up Adventist, Hosea drifted away from the church while enjoying his racing success. He accepted a full scholarship to a college in Kansas and while there began reevaluating his choices. Hosea started attending a local Adventist church where two friends, Marvin Dick and Melinda May, encouraged him to stop racing on Sabbath. He stepped out in faith and decided to honor the Sabbath, even though it meant he would lose his scholarship. After graduating with an associate degree, Hosea’s two friends helped him find Union College.