Articles by Jennifer Hannigan

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Members of the Dactylology Club after their annual Christmas caroling.

For the spring issue of Harding magazine, I covered several student organizations. It was interesting to learn about what these clubs are doing and their varied interests. Another example of an awesome student organization is the Dactylology Club, which is one of the oldest organizations on campus.

The club traces its origins to a class started in fall 1949 by student Sam Roach, who was hearing impaired. He began leading classes in sign language. In a letter, Roach wrote that the purpose of the group was “to teach and train hearing people to preach the gospel and work among deaf people in any way they desired to serve.” The classes officially became the Dactylology Club in 1956.

Today, students meet weekly on campus for classes and plan occasional trips to visit Sylvan Hills Church of Christ in North Little Rock, Arkansas, to participate in the services and class for the deaf there. In December, they go to the homes of some deaf members of the community and perform Christmas carols in sign language.

The club also allows hearing students to get a taste of what being deaf is like.

“’It’s a Deaf, Deaf World’ is an activity that we do with members of Arkansas Rehabilitation Services and Arkansas Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Little Rock,” says sponsor and director of the McNair Program Linda Thompson. “This activity simulates what it would be like in a deaf world where the predominant language is silent, turning the tables on the hearing. It’s an eye-opening activity.”

Thompson was a Dactylology Club member when she was a student. Her group had traveled to a church in Little Rock, Arkansas, to sign for the deaf members. “My husband, [Dean of the College of Sciences] Travis Thompson, who was my boyfriend at the time, tried to tell the deaf members that we were going to be married, only the sign for ‘marriage’ and the sign for ‘hamburger’ are very much alike, and he told them we were hamburgers! They just laughed, and when we figured out what he had done, we laughed, too.”

To learn more about a few of the other campus organizations in our spring issue, click here.

Jennifer Hannigan, copy editor/writer

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When I graduated high school, I saw my life mapped out in milestones, the life events that would mark my growth and that plotted my path to adulthood. Life was a lot of “when I finally do this, then I will be an adult.” In many ways “adult” was code for “having it all together.”

When I graduate college, then I will be an adult, I thought. Even though I had gotten married in college, another one of those things I thought would magically make me an adult, I really felt that the biggest marker of adulthood was a diploma. As I stood in line waiting to go into the Ganus Athletic Center, I didn’t feel like an adult, though. I didn’t feel like I had it all together. I didn’t have a job lined up, I wasn’t moving to a new city, and I didn’t know where I was headed. But even with a job, I still felt like I wasn’t quite there yet.

I keep moving through the milestones — house, car, one kid, two kids, turning 30 — and still sit here feeling very unadult, very much like I don’t have it all together. And that is what I would tell post-grad Jennifer: “Having it all together” is a myth. Being an adult isn’t a ruler made up of milestones you measure yourself by and then, one day, you reach the adult line.

Seniors Rachel Brackins and Zach Hailey of The Bison newspaper staff recently posed this same question to the class of 2016: Do you feel like an adult? University professors, deans and even the president spoke about the millennial generation and gave their views on this graduating class.

Associate Professor of Education Steve Warren says in the video that “failure is most certainly a requisite to anything of value.” It is not success that defines you but the trying that defines and matures you. I’m not trying to have it all now but instead trying to give it my all. And that has made quite a difference.

Jennifer Hannigan, copy editor/writer

IMG_1270In 2006, I had the privilege of being on the first Bisons for Christ planning committee. Admittedly, the first thing about the invitation to join that piqued my interest was the line that read, “Lunch will be provided,” but as each weekly meeting came around, I become more invested in what we were working to accomplish through this day of service. The committee, made up of students, faculty and staff, was organized by Vice President for Parent and Alumni Relations Liz Howell and College Church of Christ’s college and outreach minister Todd Gentry in an effort to revitalize an already existing day of service.

One thing that I feel the University does so well is providing areas for students to have their voices heard, and I saw that firsthand in this committee. Liz and Todd wanted to hear from us about service projects we were excited about and how to get our peers excited, too. They helped us execute our big ideas and supported us in whatever ways we needed.

Now in its 10th year, I’m proud to see that Bisons for Christ continues to be one of the biggest single days of service, aiding the Searcy community in a number of ways.

Yesterday, the Mitchell Center launched a mobile app for community service, and according to the numbers shown, there were more than 70 events with nearly 260 volunteers logging a total of 418 hours of service. And that was just what was recorded in the app! Those volunteers showed Christ’s love through pulling weeds and delivering boxed lunches and hosting sports camps. Their hands were dirty, but their hearts were full, and those whom they served got to see for themselves how Harding lives out its community of mission.

I’m so proud to see how Bisons for Christ has grown!

Jennifer Hannigan, copy editor/writer

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With the basketball season well underway, the Rhodes-Reaves Field House continues to be one of the best destinations in college basketball.

On Tuesday, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Information Scott Goode did his monthly Great American Conference update on Little Rock-based 103.7 The Buzz’s Drive Time Sports Show. While on air, host Randy Rainwater commented on the amazing atmosphere at the University’s basketball games to co-host Marcus Elliot.

“He asked Marcus if he had ever been [to Harding] and told him, ‘You have to go!’” Goode said. “Then Randy said, ‘We’re kind of doing this on the fly, but how about we do our show from the Rhodes Field House on Thursday?’”

The 4-7 p.m. radio show will have a firsthand look at the renovations the field house is currently undergoing as well as the Lady Bison’s game versus Southern Arkansas University, which starts at 5:30 p.m. The men’s team will play at 7:30 p.m.

“They’re going to be high atop the field house, actually, on the visitor end on a little platform we used to use for a camera,” Goode said. “It’ll be fun to have them here.”

You can listen to the show at

Jennifer Hannigan, copy editor/writer

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Photo by Abby Tran

Photo by Abby Tran

When you’re a child, your heroes are bright, flashy and strong. They wear the coolest outfits, have the most awesome powers and save the world one problem at a time. My 3-year-old son, Preston, is obsessed with superheroes, so it was only fitting that we went to the Women for Harding’s Princess and Superhero Party this past Saturday.

Dressed as Buzz Lightyear, Preston got to meet all of his favorite superheroes — Captain America, Spiderman, Batman, Superman and Mr. Incredible.

There were crafts, games and snacks. Preston made his own Captain America shield, lifted weights with Mr. Incredible, and honed his spidey senses with Spiderman. He was thrilled to get to be on campus because Harding is the epitome of cool in his eyes.

I found myself focused on a different set of heroes, though. First, there were the Women for Harding who had prepped and planned the entire event. There were goodie bags to be filled, crafts to be cut, games to be organized, decorations to be hung and food to be made — not to mention cleaning it all up afterward. Looking at all the hard work that went into the day, I felt like it would be easier to leap a tall building or run faster than a speeding bullet. But these women did it all without any super powers.

Secondly, there were the princesses and superheroes themselves, whose alter egos are Women for Harding scholarship recipients. They spent their Saturday signing autograph books, posing for pictures, and making each child feel like royalty. All of the proceeds from the event went to fund more scholarships so incredible students like these can pursue a Christian education.

Judging by how readily Preston took a nap when we got home and how many times he asked if we were going to see Captain America at Harding again, I’d say the day was a success to him. And seeing the smiles on everyone else’s faces, I think that was true for the event as a whole.

Jennifer Hannigan, copy editor/writer


Once Thanksgiving is over, the season of pumpkin-flavored everything gives way to Christmas peppermint. For your Christmas parties or family get-togethers, this peppermint bark is a great (and easy) way to get a taste of the holiday.


  • 1 brick white chocolate almond bark
  • 1 bag dark chocolate chips
  • 1 bag round peppermint candies, unwrapped


  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave and melt white chocolate almond bark, stirring occasionally.
  2. In a separate, microwave-safe bowl, microwave and melt the dark chocolate chips, stirring occasionally.
  3. Place the peppermint candies in a zip-close bag and beat until broken into small pieces. Add the peppermint to melted white chocolate almond bark and stir to combine.
  4. Line a baking sheet with wax paper and spread melted dark chocolate evenly on top. Then add the white chocolate/peppermint mixture over the dark chocolate, spreading evenly. Freeze until firm. Break into chunks to serve.

Jennifer Hannigan, copy editor/writer


This Christmas, one thing I’ve been trying to model for my children, especially my 3-year-old son, is a spirit of giving and thankfulness rather than a focus on the stuff. One way I am doing that is by including him in doing things for others. This candy recipe is easy enough for children of any age to help out with and makes perfect gifts for anyone who makes your day a little brighter.


  • 1 stick butter (softened)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 pounds powered sugar
  • 1 brick chocolate almond bark


  1. Add butter, sweetened condensed milk, coconut and pecans in a bowl and combine using a mixer. Then gradually mix in the powered sugar.
  2. Line a baking sheet with wax paper, roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls, and place on the sheet. Once you have used all of the mixture, chill the balls until firm.
  3. Place one brick of chocolate almond bark in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted, stirring every so often.
  4. Using a fork, dip each ball in the melted chocolate, coating it. Then place back on the baking sheet and chill once again until firm.

Jennifer Hannigan, copy editor/writer


Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Mornings and I are not friends. Don’t get me wrong; mornings have a lot of great things to offer: sunrises, a moment of quiet before the day begins, and a fresh start. And I think we would all agree that breakfast foods out rank all other foods. No, it’s the whirlwind that is sandwiched between my feet hitting the floor at 5:30 a.m. and getting my little brood out the door by 7:15 that has me dreading my alarm.

Recently, I started reading about how to make the most of the morning and how to keep things relatively stress free in those first hours. Here are some of the things I’ve learned that are helping me manage the morning rush.

1. Plan ahead. I plan a week’s worth of outfits for my children and myself every Sunday afternoon. It keeps me from wasting time making those decisions in the morning. I also pack everyone’s lunch and program the coffee maker the night before and set our bags for the next day by the door.

2. Obey your alarm. When my alarm goes off, I don’t hit the snooze button. Snoozing just makes you feel sleepier when you finally do get out of bed. Also, the routine of waking up at the same time every day makes early rising easier.

3. Build in some time for yourself. I get up before the rest of my family so I can get myself ready without a lot of distractions. That way I can solely focus on getting the little ones ready when they wake up. Also in that time, I read my Bible or devotional thought. Whether it’s a couple of verses or Jesus Calling entry, it’s so nice to start the day with God’s word.

4. Set a routine. Start each day the same, and do things in a similar order each day. These cues become built into your brain, which makes it easier to remember things along the way.

5. Eat the frog. This step is more for when you get to work or actually begin your daily tasks. It means to do the thing you least want to do first — which also tends to be the biggest thing. Getting it done will not only give you a sense of accomplishment that will propel you into the next task, but it will also keep it from looming over you all day.

Jennifer Hannigan, copy editor/writer


The students lining up outside the cafeteria on Monday were welcomed in to a newly renovated dining space, part two of Aramark’s three-year, $3 million plan for upgrading its dining services. With new cooking and service equipment, the cafeteria can offer students a wider variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner options.


“We tried to design it where we can offer fresher foods in smaller batches,” said Lou Christopher, senior food service director.

One station now offers a Chipotle-style experience one week with design-your-own burritos, burrito bowls and tacos; an Asian stir-fry option the next week; and pasta dishes the week after that.

“We’re thinking of doing the burritos more often because they’ve been really, really popular,” Christopher said.


At the home station, there are smaller serving vessels that allow the food to stay fresher than if it were served in large catering trays. There is also a carving station where meats are carved fresh from the oven rather than sitting pre-sliced in a steam tray.

“We have these warmers instead of the steam wells, which allows us to be more flexible with what we serve. Over time, if we discover there’s not a need for something, we can change it up and do something different.”

The biggest change is at the end of the long serving counter. A gluten- and allergy-friendly station, sectioned off from the rest of the kitchen, offers students with dietary restrictions an easy spot to get something to eat. Additionally, there is a vegan option prepared every day.

“We also have ingredients set out so that if a student needs something specially prepared because of their dietary restrictions, they can tell the chef here and she will make something just for them.”


At the breakfast stations, diners can make their own waffles or choose from bagels, toast and muffins. A cereal bar was added over the summer, providing a variety of cereal options, milk, fruit and yogurt.

An interactive touch screen in the dining area allows students to find the nutrition facts, and smaller community tables were added.

“We spread out more,” Christopher said. “But it didn’t take much more of a footprint to do. The linear square footage didn’t change, but it really did spread everything out and keeps the serving space from getting too crowded.

Wednesday between 11:50 a.m. and 12:10 p.m., our busy time, we had 700 students come through. The line outside was long, but there were hardly any lines in here. It has helped us alleviate some of that crowding.”

With the cafeteria renovation, remodeling of the mini mart, and the popular addition of Einstein Bros. Bagels, Aramark continues to help improve dining and food services at the University.

Jennifer Hannigan, copy editor/writer

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Photo credit: Jeff Montgomery

Photo credit: Jeff Montgomery

This month, I turn the big 3-0. I’ve found that the feeling of “being old” brought on by kissing my 20s goodbye is made even worse on a college campus, where everyone is perpetually 18-22. The gap between each incoming group grows larger, and my grasp on all things current grows weaker. I’ve noticed fashions that I witnessed the rise and fall of are coming back as “retro” and bands I once listened to are having reunion tours. Shows I watched the premiers of now run on Nick at Night and students passing me in the hall call me “ma’am.”

I realize that I am, in fact, getting old. With the wisdom of my 30 years, I have created four ways to help you determine if you, too, are getting old.

There is new technology you just don’t understand. I remember getting our first computer when I was a kid. I could click, scroll and surf circles around my parents from day one. My mother still struggles with how to get on the Internet, which is why I am comfortable sharing that bit of information about her online — she’ll never find it. (Love you, Mom!) But now, I find myself confronted with technology that leaves me scratching my head. Tumblr, YikYak, Reddit … I feel like those are words you try to sneak in when you’re out of real words in Scrabble … I mean Words With Friends.

There is a world of new vocabulary you can’t translate. Bae. On fleek. LOLZ. If any of these words were to come out of my mouth, I would sound like the out of touch stepdad in the Jimmy Fallon “Ew!” sketch. I checked out the moment saying things like “I was distracted because Internet” or “I ate an entire bag of Doritos because hunger” became acceptable. You can find me over here, saying “because of” with the other elderly grammarians.

You were there for the origin of something that seems completely necessary now. When I tell people that texting wasn’t around when I was in high school, I get the same reaction that I gave my great grandmother when she told me she rode a horse to school. I can also pinpoint where I was the moment I first went surfing on the worldwide Web and when Facebook came to Harding. The Internet is like running water now; to not have it is to feel like Laura Ingalls Wilder in “Little House on the Prairie.”

Something that once seemed completely necessary is now obsolete. Remember AOL Instant Messenger? I do. Remember dial-up Internet? I do. Remember a landline with an 80-foot twisty cord? Remember the landline in general? All of these things had a huge presence in my adolescence and have fallen by the wayside in the years since. Now all of these things are wrapped up in a device no bigger than a cassette tape, but don’t try explaining a cassette tape to an incoming freshman.

If these apply to you, then welcome to the club. To become a member, simply raise your right hand and repeat after me: “Kids these days …”

Jennifer Hannigan, copy editor/writer


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