Four-year liberal arts college run by the Seventh-Day Adventist church. Located in Lincoln, Nebraska. Home to approximately nine hundred students, at least three of whom use Linux. The most popular place to go is the Microlab, which is constantly staffed by friendly operators whose sole desire in life is to serve the clients, even if they don't speak a word of english.

A private college in Schenectady, New York. With a total undergraduate population breaking 2500, Union is a pretty small college, a few minutes out of Albany.

It has it's origins back in 1779. Several hundred residents of upstate New York, certain that Burgoyne's defeat at Saratoga during the American Revolutionary war two years before would mean a new nation, began the first popular demand for higher education in America. These residents pursued that dream for sixteen years until, in 1795, Union became the first college chartered by the Regents of the State of New York.

The very name, Union, was supposed to reflect the new national union. More immediately and directly, it recognized the fact that the College was an outgrowth of a new sense of community among the several religious and national groups in the local population. Union's founders were determined to avoid the narrow sectarianism characteristic of earlier American colleges; today, Union is one of the oldest nondenominational colleges in the country.

Unlike most other colleges of its time, Union didn't have a heavy classical bias. The motto is "Sous les lois de Minerve nous devenons tous freres," or "We all become brothers under the laws of Minerva." Notice how it's French rather than Latin. Union was among the first to introduce French on an equal level with Greek and Latin. Take that Harvard!

In the 1820s, when the classical curriculum was the most widely accepted field of study, Union introduced a bachelor's degree with greater emphasis on history, science, modern languages, and mathematics. This liberality of educational vision characterized Union during the early years of the term of Eliphalet Nott, who was president from 1804 to 1866. Science and technology became important concerns; chemistry was taught before 1809, a degree in scientific studies was added, and in 1845 Union became the first liberal arts college to offer engineering. The College was one of the first to offer work in American history and constitutional government and did pioneer work in the elective system of study.

By about 1830, Union was graduating as many students as any other college in America. Along with Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, it was spoken of as one of the big four (which has a different connotation today, now it's athletic). Students came accross the country; among them were the father of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the grandfather of Winston Churchill, the 21st President of the United States (Chester A. Arthur, Class of 1848), seven cabinet secretaries, fifteen United States senators, ninety-one members of the House of Representatives, thirteen governors, fifty important diplomats, more than 200 judges, forty missionaries, sixteen generals, and ninety college presidents, including the first presidents of the University of Illinois, the University of Iowa, the University of Michigan, Vassar College, Smith College, and Elmira College.

Union gained a reputation for some great schemes to finance higher education, such as the statewide Lottery, created by the school's president Nott. There was a scandal later, as there were some corrupted lotto officials. Nott's refusal to relinquish control of the College during his final years began a disintegration that accelerated in the quarter century after the president's death. At its low point in 1888, Union had fewer students in all four classes than it had graduated as seniors a half century earlier.

The revival of the College began in the late nineteenth-century under the leadership of Andrew Van Vranken Raymond, president from 1894 to 1907. Among his most important innovations was the establishment of a Department of Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics, headed by the "electrical wizard" of the General Electric Company, Charles P. Steinmetz. The new department gave impetus to the development of strong programs in science and technology and attracted attention and applications to the College. 

The College has done important experimental work in interdepartmental studies, there are a number of programs that cut across the lines of academic disciplines. Organized interdepartmental majors are offered in numerous areas, and the College has also developed programs that enable students to work toward both a bachelor's degree and an advanced degree. The 8-year Leadership in medicine program gives students a Bachelors of Arts, a Masters in Health Administration, and a M.D. Degree at Albany Medical School.

Union has a trimester system instead of the Semester that most other colleges offer. Few colleges on the East coast offer this, Dartmouth may be the only other that I know of besides California. Every so often the school puts it to a vote, and the students and teachers vote for the trimester overwhelmingly. From what I hear, you learn much more in just 11 weeks than you do in a semester. It's sort of more rigorous as there's a bit less time, but you absorb the information better, and then have 7 weeks break in between. You're also taking less classes, but the ones you take give you a better understanding of the subject. The people I've met really enjoy it. You study during school, but when the break hits, you have nothingno summer reading or anything.

Since Union is near Albany, it's over an hour from Manhattan, and there's snow, there's ski resorts nearby.

One of the really cool buildings on campus is the Nott Memorial. It was the only 16-sided building in the world, until one was built in Austrailia, so now it's the only one in the northern hemisphere. It was built to symbolize the cooperation among the three major religions in the world. There is stained glass to represent Christianity, Star of David on the dome to symbolize Judaism, and mosaics within to symbolize Islam.

Study Abroad is a big thing, something like 50% of the students do it at some time or another. There are full semesters where you can go stay at another country's college, like Columbia's study location in Spain, and whatever credits you earn there get transferred to Union. There's also a 2-week mini-trip, to somewhere warm like Barbados.

As I said before, it's small, about 2100 people, but the classes are no larger than 30 people. The Alumni all love the college, and stay in contact.

Union accepts the Common Application, they have two tiers of Early Decision, and a very small supplement consisting of submitting a writing sample from an English class that was graded by your teacher. If you're applying to Ivy League Schools, you might consider this a safety school in terms of minimum SAT scores and class size, but trust me, it's an amazing place.

--Historical facts and years taken from Union.edu

Update: Well, I've sent in my deposit check, and It's official, I'm going to Union. It was a tough choice: rejected from Columbia University and Brown, stuck between Boston College, Boston Univeristy and Union. Boston C was energetic, and in a great location, but I felt like it was a little too big (8500 undergrads), and Boston U was twice its size. Union's smallness, individual treatment, trimester system, and great Pre-medical program and Study Abroad sealed the deal.

Well, I can't ignore the nice merit-based scholarship they generously offered me...

Although mr100percent provided a rather inclusive history (hell, I didn't know half of it), I felt I should add a few words about the present state of Union College.

First and foremost, Union College should be known for what it is: a school for dumb rich kids who weren't accepted by any ivy leagues. I know several people at school whose parents bought them Audi S4's for their own personal transportation, and yet still cannot manage to get to class on time, or at all. I feel that the reported median SAT scores must be a little higher than the actual value just judging by the burnouts and drunks I've dealt with during my year there. Also, despite having absolutely terrible athletics, it has a rather high jock population.

Academics:

Academically, the school deserves its (pretty good) reputation. The professors love what they do for a living, and they always seem willing to work individually with students. The class sizes are usually pretty small, and I haven't met a professor who had less than five hours a week to meet one on one with students.

Housing:

I'm leaching off a kid who was picked 7th in the lottery, so I have a sick apartment. Freshmen, on the other hand, can look forward to the dingy brick gulag that is called Davidson hall. They're accepting more students next year and they're providing less housing next year, so I'd say crowding is going to get to be a problem.

Alcohol:

Easy to get. I think I've seen the bars and liquor stores around Union accept Radioshak battery discount cards. In addition, there are frat parties AT LEAST every Friday and Saturday at which you can claw and elbow your way to a bar for a delicious cup of Milwaukee's Best.

Where 'da weed at?:

Also easy to get. Hell, someone I knew grew two plants in his closet. I'm not going to say any names, obviously, but if you're having any trouble finding weed, you're in the substance free residence hall.

Well, what else do I need?:

You can generally always pick up the more interesting kinds of mushrooms, but they're not always cheap. I haven't really had experience with anything else at Union.

Girls:

No good news here. Most are downright ugly. The good-looking ones travel in bitchy little packs that will somehow manage to smoke an 1/8th of an ounce of your marijuana without actually talking to you. They're generally too young,rich,and attractive to resort to talking to freshmen.

Nightlife:

On weekends, there's always frat parties, as I already said. If you're drunk enough, you'll be able to withstand the smell of urine and the face of the girl wrapped around your left leg long enough to get a few dances in. Wednesdays are bar nights, for those of you who like mild alcohol poisoning and quickly dwindling bank accounts. If you live in West life is a party, the tradeoff being that you have to sleep in a room roughly the size of one of those little Japanese hotel cubicles.

Having graduated from Union College, Schenectady, NY this past June, I can give a pretty good account of how it has been. For current events, /msg mr100percent, who is still attending Union, to my knowledge. It seems that Union College aims to suck all traces of liberal from the term "liberal arts college". This mission is spear-headed by Roger Hull, president of Union College, and all around evil man.

As of this year, a brand new housing system was implemented, in which houses, in the vein of Hogwarts exist. The plan is that each freshman, I mean, first year student is assigned to a house, and they are welcome to the common areas of their assigned house, even though they do not live there. The downfall of this system is that social groups form from common friends, not arbitrary assignment.

Religious life on Union's campus is practically underground culture, and also literally, as the religious services offices are in a basement. My experience was mainly with the Protestant chaplain, who had to raise funds from local churches. The college president is staunchly against religion, and refuses to give any funding to religious programs or student clubs. As an agnostic, I found the Campus Protestant Ministry (CPM) club intellectually interesting, and yet, even as an intellectual pursuit, they were afforded no funding.

Frat parties regularly get higher attendance than theatre productions, but to the populace's credit, word of mouth usually leads to sold-out closing performances of the better productions. There is a gay-rights/support group on campus, but homophobia still runs rampant, though it is mostly implicit, as explicit bigotry in the Northeast will make you a social pariah.

Perhaps the most telling or damning aspect of my experience was that I was known as the guy with the dyed hair. I dyed my hair purple, Atlantic blue, fire engine red, and more. I stood out moreso, because except for short-lived hazing rituals, I was the only kid on the entire campus with hair that I couldn't pretend was natural. When I finally cut it and let it go back to my natural brown-black, everyone asked me about it. Administrators asked, "What happened to your hair?"

Union College was truly fulfilling in the academic realm. I was challenged, I enjoyed it, and I took a term abroad in Osaka, Japan. However, too few people spoke up in class, and the social scene was dominated by fraternities. If you like the Greek Letter System, you will enjoy Union College. If you do not, you may yet enjoy Union. As of now, I live in a 4-bedroom apartment in Boston with 3 good friends that I met at Union. I warn all prospective students, however, that you may need to find your own entertainment. Union, and its surrounding Schenectady will do you no favors.

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