Thanksgiving dinner hosts on-campus Spiders

November 27, 2020

Spider Pride

Every year, the Office of Common Ground hosts a Thanksgiving dinner for students who stay on campus during the holiday — whether they’re from other countries or local communities. Like so many other things about 2020, this year’s Thanksgiving dinner looked a bit different.

With the help of Dining Services and campus volunteers, the holiday celebration welcomed about 70 students in D-Hall the day before Thanksgiving. 

“The University is supporting students who don’t have another easy option during this time by making sure they’re housed and fed,” said Lisa Miles, Common Ground’s associate director. “We’re also helping them find a little bit of community.”

What is typically a small group of international students grew to include others who either could not travel home or who did not have a safe place to study. Miles said that many students appreciated the Thanksgiving meal and that Dining Services remained open during the holiday break for those students remaining on campus. The majority of students left campus before Thanksgiving as the remainder of the semester will be virtual.   

Because the Dining Hall was closed on Thanksgiving, students were able to take meals back to their rooms to tide them over until it reopened the next day. Sandeep Kumar, a junior from Pakistan, said he was excited at all the food that had been prepared and packed up by the dining staff. 

Darren McCarroll, a senior from Ireland, said he enjoyed the peaceful campus as he continued working on his studies.

“I told my family it just didn’t make sense to travel home this year with COVID, and they understood,” McCarroll said.

With social distancing and general COVID fatigue, this year’s Thanksgiving celebration had a different vibe, Miles said.

“I think the students were definitely grateful to have time off from classes to recalibrate, and to catch up on a bit of sleep and studying before they head into the last week of classes and finals,” she said.