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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Thanksgiving with the Brandeis family

Published: December 1, 2006
Section: Arts, Etc.

While many students went home for the Thanksgiving holiday, the ICC hosted a dinner for all those who decided to remain on campus on Thanksgiving Thursday. Over 50 people showed up to dinner as they were presented with a traditional thanksgiving meal. The dinner was attended by many international students, students who live a long distance away, and any other people who remained on campus for the holiday. The meal was arranged by Assistant Dean of Student Life Alwina Bennett, but various students assisted in every step of the way from buying the food to preparing the meal and cleaning up. The event started three years ago and has seen increased interest ever since, drawing support from the International Scholars Office, Aramark, and other campus institutions.

Bennett explained that she got the idea to start this celebration after one student complained about spending the thanksgiving holiday by himself. He had eaten a boxed turkey dinner sitting in front of a TV in a dorm room all by himself, commented Bennett concerning the reasons for why she established the dinner. The next year she sent out a campus-wide email to see if anyone would be interested in the project and received overwhelming support. The first year more than 65 people showed up! stated Bennett. The tradition has continued ever since. This year there was an online survey and RSVP system that was filled out by nearly 60 people before Thanksgiving Thursday. This helped spread the word about the event and organize the efforts of the planners.

Student involvement was evident throughout the preparation as they assisted along every step of the way toward a Thanksgiving dinner. Students assisted Bennett in shopping, cooking, setting up the table and perhaps most grudgingly, cleaning up afterwards. The result was a great meal and a wonderful time for all. Not only was the traditional thanksgiving aura generated with turkey and all, but there was definitely a homely feeling to the occasion. The attendees laughed, watched the Thanksgiving Day Parade, and had a great time with their Brandeis family. As aforementioned, Aramark provided food and ingredients to make the meal possible, while the ICC staff was a generous host, allowing the group to use their facilities for the occasion.

Although some were a far distance from home and others had decided to remain on campus, the meal was still a success because of the atmosphere that truly had a family feel. It is perhaps a testament to the commitment of students and administrators alike to bond together in order to link more closely with the Brandeis family.