Sam Edgren’s dorm room is filled with swords, Shakespeare and volumes of mythology.
After a mere three months, the freshman theater and speech education major already calls the campus “home.”
“It is very possibly one of the best places to be,” Edgren said. “The community is fantastic. It really lets you feel connected to a community of believers and also friends who will go out and do dorky things but at the same time pray with you.”
As a member of a military family, Edgren’s life has been filled with travel. He was born in Louisiana, lived in Kuwait for two years, Kansas for five years, Washington state for one year, Norway for three years and Virginia for five years.
“Transience and being gone places is very comfortable to me,” Edgren said. “After I spend two nights in a place, that place becomes home, be it a hotel, a tent, a dorm.”
Of all the places he has lived, Edgren said Norway is his favorite—an “introvert’s paradise.”
“It was probably one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen on God’s green earth,” he said. “It was absolutely just stunning.”
Edgren’s friends in Norway were Irish, Scottish, Chinese-American, Texan, British and more. There was a tightknit community of expatriates, people living outside their country of origin.
Now at Union, Edgren is building new relationships around campus.
When still considering Union, Edgren saw his older sister, then a student, visiting faculty members’ houses and babysitting their children. Rebecca Edgren graduated from Union in May with a degree in English.
Edgren decided to join the Honors Community after his sister told him about the professors, and Edgren said the teachers are now one of his favorite things about the school.
“The amount they want to invest in you as a student and educate you, but also want to invest in you personally and spiritually and mentor you is stunning and rare,” he said.
Edgren has two cousins currently at Union, Josh Edgren, junior physics major, and Rachel Edgren, freshman nursing major.
Among his friends, Edgren has found a group willing to do “college student things” like late night visits to Steak ‘n Shake, but also quick to talk about Christianity, philosophy and what God has been doing in their lives.
About eight of his friends have even joined a new campus organization, Whetstone Fencing, which Edgren formed after missing the fencing club he went to in Williamsburg.
Buying an extra set of fencing gear, Edgren had the group approved as an official organization. They meet Monday nights from 8:30 to 10 wherever they can find room.
“How can you not want to stab your buddy and then have him stab you and then come out still friends?” Edgren said.
The gear that fills his dorm includes fencing jackets, fencing masks and, of course, swords. Edgren does both saber fencing and foil fencing.
For Edgren, life at Union also means being a “theater kid.”
“It’s something I’m really passionate about,” Edgren said. “I only discovered [theater] within the past five years. It’s those teachers who really helped form me, make me not the super introverted awkward homeschooler. Being able to do that as a teacher would be my dream.”
Edgren was cast as Lucky in “Waiting for Godot,” the first play during his first semester at Union. Playing Lucky, a slave, meant spending more than two hours a night being beaten, kicked and yanked around by a rope, Edgren said.
Rehearsing five or six days a week was exhausting, Edgren said, but added that “it was a great experience overall.”