10 Christmas Gifts that any College Student would Love

When it comes to Christmas gifts, it isn’t always easy to find the right one. Many times we settle for the same old gift card to Starbucks that you would give to anyone between the age of 18 to 22. However, there is another opportunity to get a truly spectacular gift for your college aged compatriot. Here are 10 CHRISTMAS GIFTS THAT ANY COLLEGE STUDENT WOULD LOVE, hand-curated by a college student herself.


1) Minibru French Press Mug


Ah coffee, the beloved nectar of life to many a college student. The only problem is that most coffee makers aren’t really equipped for a single serving size. But behold, this mug with a French press attachment has come to save the day. Now you just add grounds to the line, fill with hot water, and poof, the perfect French press cup of coffee.


2) Log Pillow


Most people have heard the phrase “slept like a log” before, but few have attempted to sleep ON a log. This quirky pillow provides all the comfort of a pillow with its polyester and spandex cover filled with micro beads, but with the added flair of this natural print. As far as funky dorm decor goes, this is pretty much the greatest pillow ever.


3) Wallet Ninja Multi-Tool


At some point or another, your collegiate friend or relative is probably going to need a tool when none are available. However, instead of having to maneuver through life unprepared, get them this 18-in-1 multi-tool. Box opener, screwdriver, and phone stand are just a few of its capabilities. It is forged from quadruple heat treated steel and is the size of a credit card so where you go, it goes.


4) No Place Like Home Candles

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Admit it, at some point or another you’ve buckled and given someone a candle as a last minute gift. However, I can assure you that this candle will not go ignored on some dusty shelf. Each of these candles is based after a state and is perfect for an out-of-state student to keep in their dorm. The candles are clean burning and crafted in the USA. However, be sure to check with the university’s dorm policy on candles before you gift this. Some schools prohibit candles in the dorms.


5) 2-in-1 Charging Solution

This wall adapter may well be the best Christmas gift for a tech-loving college student. It plugs into a regular electrical socket and can charge up to 5 devices. It has hidden micro-USB cables that can be peeled back for easy use. But the best part is that it can travel. The top attachment can be removed to charge up to two devices up to 3 times faster than a typical charger and can fill a devices battery up to four times.


6) Outdoor Wireless Speaker


Everybody who loves music loves bluetooth speakers, however they aren’t always the most durable contraptions. If you know a traveling (or maybe just clumsy) college student, this speaker is the way to go. It’s durable and built to last. It can even play music while underwater.


7) Field Notes Memo Book


From chalkboards to adult coloring books, people love to scribble. The same is true for college students. This set of three memo books is capable of containing any of your college student’s musings, notes, and doodles. They come in blank, lined, and graph paper and are portably sized.


8) 5 Ingredient College Cookbook


We all know of the reputation of college cuisine, but not many college students have the time for culinary lessons. This cookbook is built with college students in mind and tells you everything you need to know such as what cooking utensils you need and what the nutritional properties of the ingredients are. It even offers alternate suggestions in the recipes to keep them fresh and exciting.


9) Can Planter

Plants live in a space, clean the air, and provide a stress relieving hobby. That’s what makes them so popular in dorms. These ceramic can planters are petite enough to keep in a windowsill, but large enough to grow a variety of herbs and plants. It comes with all the fixings to cultivate the seeds along with the instructions on how to care for the plant. The cans come with a choice of sunflower, wild strawberry, mint, and basil seeds.


10) World Map Laundry Bag


Lugging laundry to the washing room is no one’s favorite task, but this printed laundry bag definitely makes it cooler. The bag can hold over 6 and a half pounds of clothes and can fold into a compact pouch when not in use. It’s perfect for any jetsetting college student you may know.


*Post written by Ruth Duncan

The Scoop on Thanksgiving

When it comes to Thanksgiving, we’ve all heard the tale of the Pilgrims and the Native Americans having a meal together, but how well do you really know the story? We’ve put together seven facts about Thanksgiving that you probably didn’t know. Grab hold of your pumpkin pie and get ready to learn!

1:The food isn’t what you think

The meal eaten by our forefathers is not what you would see today. At the meal, we know they had wheat, corn, barley, waterfowl, turkey, cod, bass, and deer. It is also believed that they ate clams, eel, lobster, mussels, acorns, chestnuts, walnuts, ground nuts, squash, beans, raspberries, strawberries, grapes, gooseberries, onions, leeks, sorrel, yarrow, lettuce, carrots, radishes, currants, liverwort, watercress, and a small number of eggs. They would not have had the ingredients or means to make desserts, so no pecan pie for them! There were also no potatoes nor sweet potatoes as they had not yet been introduced to New England.

2: It was longer than a one day celebration

The festival was recorded as a three day long celebration during which the Native American and Pilgrims would have eaten and enjoyed time together. It was much different than the dinner and nap situation of which many households partake in today.

3: The popcorn story is a myth

You may have heard the myth that popcorn was discovered on the first Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, this is false. The corn available to them was Indian corn, a variety that does not pop well. Popcorn was actually a product of the 1820’s discovered by using a breed of maize domesticated by pre-Columbian indigenous people.

4: It didn’t become an official holiday until much later

Something that many people don’t know is that the Pilgrims did not celebrate Thanksgiving as an annual event. The famed Thanksgiving feast was a one time celebration. There were later times of thanksgiving instituted on a case-by-case basis by later presidents, but the holiday we know of today is largely because of the lobbying of Mrs. Sarah Josepha Hale. She lobbied with several presidents over the years from 1827 to 1863 until President Lincoln finally instituted the holiday.

5: The American story

The story of the first Thanksgiving feast is that of a rare cooperation between the white settlers and native populations. The passengers of the Mayflower suffered many trials during the early portion of their settlement. They endured a treacherous 66 day crossing and suffered from exposure, disease, and malnutrition after their arrival. Only half of the settlers lived to see their first Massachusetts spring. However, they received a visit from an Abenaki Indian that shockingly spoke English. They were later introduced to Squanto, who was a member of the Pawtuxet tribe and had been captured by an English captain who sold him into slavery. He taught the settlers how to survive with skills such as cultivating corn, extracting sap from trees, avoiding poisonous plants, and catching fish in the rivers. He also helped them form an alliance with the local Wampanoag Tribe. Governor William Bradford invited a group of their native allies over for a celebration after the first successful corn harvest. After that, the rest is history.

6: Ancient origins

Celebrations of thanksgiving didn’t magically appear during the 1620’s. Cultures around the world had performed similar celebrations throughout history. Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all have recorded celebrations paying tribute to their gods after a harvest. The Jewish festival of Sukkot also bears a resemblance to Thanksgiving. Even the Native Americans had harvest feasts and celebrations before the settlers arrived.

7: A day of mourning

Many people take issue with how the Thanksgiving celebration is represented. They feel as if the way the first feast was portrayed shows a deceptively sunny version of the interactions between white settlers and Native Americans. Because of this, many people (native and non-native alike) use Thanksgiving as a time of mourning to remember the history of conflict between white immigrants and settlers that has haunted this country since settlers arrived.

*Post written by Ruth Duncan

Reading List: Young Readers Day

Don’t you get a hint of nostalgia whenever you think about your childhood and the books you used to love?

If you still love children’s books, or you want an idea of new titles to read to the children in your life, take a look at the list we’ve made!

Click on the images to see the listing in the library!

Olivia Chin, Circulation Manager, wanted a dog of her own as a child. She really enjoyed Good Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day, in which a faithful Rottweiler watches over a little girl:

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Susan Kriaski, Cataloging Associate, thinks these two books deserve a read:

Llama Llama and Friends by Anna Dewdney

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Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney

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Melissa Moore, Director for Library Services, likes these children’s books:

Are You My Mother? By P. D. Eastman

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Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

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Stephen Mount, Library Systems Manager, enjoys these selections:

See the Ocean by Estelle Condra

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If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano and Erin Stead

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Anna Poore, Technical Services Librarian, recommends this book:

Brave Irene by William Steig

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Rachel Powers, Library Associate, enjoyed these books as a child:

Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary


Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

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Jordan Sellers, Library Associate, enjoyed these books when she was young:

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan


Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

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Sarah Zornes, Evening Circulation Supervisor, loved this book when she was young:

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

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November is Native American Heritage Month

The history and heritage of Native Americans is something that many people don’t know much about. However, whether it is common knowledge or not, Native American life and achievement has been a major factor in getting us where we are today. That’s why we have put together a list of notable Native Americans. Happy Native American Heritage Month!

1: Maria Tallchief

Born on January 24, 1925, Maria Tallchief was the first Native American to break into the ballet scene. She performed with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo as well as being the first American to dance with the Paris Opera ballet. She was the first prima ballerina on the New York City Ballet. She performed in productions such as Orpheus, Scotch Symphony, Miss Julie, Firebird, and The Nutcracker. After her retirement in 1965 she taught ballet to younger dancers. She was inducted into the women’s hall of fame, was one of five artist to receive Kennedy Center Honors for their contributions in the U.S., and received the National Medal of Arts. 

2: William Rogers

Will Rogers (William Penn Adair Rogers) was born on November 4 1879. He was an actor, humorist, cowboy, and newspaper commentator among other things. He was a very popular social figure who championed air travel and told audiences of his global adventures. After a very strong career in film, he had a career as a newspaper columnist known for wisecracks and humorous social commentary. He died in a plane crash in Alaska in 1935 with aviator Wiley Post, but is still a well known figure in Oklahoma and Native American history.

3: John Herrington

Born September 14, 1958 in Wetumka, Oklahoma, John Herrington became the first Native American to become an astronaut. Starting with a career in the Navy, he was an aviator that made three operational deployments. During his military service, he was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation, Coast Guard Special Operations Service Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Sea Service Ribbons, and various other service awards. Eventually he earned a Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering. During his time at NASA he spent a total of 19 hours and 55 minutes in space over three space walks when he served on the sixteenth space shuttle mission to the international space station.

4: Winona LaDuke

Winona (meaning “first daughter” in Dakota language) LaDuke was born in 1959 in Los Angeles, California. While working as a high school principal, she became active in social issues and helped start the Indigenous Women’s Network. She also became involved in the struggle to recover lands for the Anishinaabe,  founded the White Earth Land Recovery Project, and is also Executive Director of Honor the Earth. She has run as a vice president candidate on the green party ticket twice, and was the first woman to receive an Electoral College vote for vice president.

5: Naomi Lang

Naomi Lang (born December 18, 1978) is an American ice dancer. She is a two-time Four Continents champion, a five-time U.S. national champion, and has competed at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. She is the first Native American female athlete to participate in the Winter Olympics,and has earned 14 medals, seven of which were gold. She has extensively toured across Europe with her ice dancing parter, Peter Tchernyshev.

*Post by Ruth Duncan

Book Lovers Day

It’s an important day here at the Union University library! Most of the staff work here because of one united commonality, and that is our mutual love of books.

Here are some book recommendations from your friendly, neighborhood library staff:

Danielle Chalker, Circulation Student Assistant, enjoys historical fiction and the classics. She recommends this book:

Peace Like a River by Lief Enger

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Ruth Duncan, Circulation Student Assistant, is a fan of fairy tales and science fiction and recommends this book:

Cinder by Marissa Meyer


Cole Le Mahieu, Circulation Student Assistant, is a science fiction fan. He recommends this mind-blowing book:

Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle

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Hannah Shea, Circulation Student Assistant, likes most genres (but not horror). She recommends these two books:

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

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Enna Burning by Shannon Hale

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Grant Wise, Circulation Student Assistant, enjoys classics, and recommends this book:

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne


Susan Kriaski, Cataloging Associate, recommends witty and fun reads like this book:

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell

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Beth Lynn, Collection Development Coordinator, recommends these two books:

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

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Melissa Moore, Director of the Library, loves high fantasy and recommends this book:

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

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Stephen Mount, Library Systems Manager, enjoys true crime and classics and recommends these books:

The Man from the Train by Bill James

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The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Savannah Patterson, Public Services Librarian, is a fan of many genres. Her recommended books are:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

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Anna Poore, Technical Services Librarian, recommends this book:

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

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Jordan Sellers, Library Associate, likes fantasy and mythology and recommends this book:

Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

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Sarah Zornes, Evening Circulation Supervisor, is a fan of the science fiction and fantasy genres and recommends this book:

Steelheart, by Brandon Sanderson


What are your favorite books? Do you recommend any in particular? Let us know in the comments!

Care to Try a Writing Challenge?


For all of you aspiring writers out there, November is National Novel Writing Month, lovingly known as NaNoWriMo to the online writing community.


From November 1st to November 30th, people all over the world gear up for a month full of writing. The goal is to write a novel, roughly 50,000 words, in 30 days’ time. According to veteran NaNo participants and winners, if you are smart and plan your novel out, it’s not too hard meeting your word count for each day. After making a [free] profile, participants can track their word count online and start pounding out a story! If you are the type that needs encouragement and accountability, you can find other writers in your region that will keep you on target and cheer you on!

If you’ve ever wanted to sit down and write a novel, now is your chance. Rise up to the challenge.

Find out more and sign up here.

Happy Halloween!

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

Union Life


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…

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49-bell Carillon Dedicated at Union Night

Union Life

Union dedicated the new 49-bell Miller Tower carillon as part of Union Night Oct. 1 during Family Weekend. The bronze bells replaced the speaker system in the tower last summer and chime every quarter hour. They can also be played using a keyboard in the base of the tower. A professional carillonneur played a concert of hymns after the dedication.

Kaylee Gibson, president of Union’s student government association, said Miller Tower serves as a symbol for the campus, and the bells are an important part of that.

“The ringing is a gentle reminder that time will pass, things will change, but God is always good,” she said. “I hope that we can all see these bells as an inspiration to inscribe God’s word on our own hearts and to never be silent when we should be singing his praise.”

Read more about the carillon on our website.

Story by…

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