Thanksgiving — it’s a time to celebrate the season and spend time with loved ones around the table. While many students rushed home to be with families, for many international students and others who stay on campus for a variety of reasons, this was not possible.
Multicultural and Inclusion Coordinator Tyler Brentley helped to recreate the warm, inviting atmosphere of going home by offering a complimentary dinner Nov. 21 in the Grotto Commons.
“Thanksgiving is a holiday that revolves around family, food and spending time with the ones that are closest to us,” Brentley said.
“Even though all of our students are not able to make it home for the holiday, we strive to show that Hurst is Home with this tradition by providing students with an opportunity to engage with fellow members of the campus community over a delicious meal,”he said.
An email was sent out to students by International Enrollment Counselor Angela Phillips inviting students to the Grotto Commons for dinner.
“Thanksgiving is about breaking bread and giving thanks, so it makes perfect sense that the Multicultural & Inclusion Office extends this tradition to our international student population. We are always thankful for all that our international student population brings to our campus, and what better way to show our gratitude than with a traditional holiday meal that brings everyone together,” Phillips said.
For many students, fond memories of last year’s event motivated them to attend.
“The atmosphere was warm and inviting, as we were allowed to eat together in the main dining area by the Daily Dish,” junior Comparative Identity Politics major Megan Quiñones said.
“It was wonderful, as we got to interact with some of the other students and organizers in attendance like Sarah Allen and the staff members serving us themselves. It felt like the school truly cared and wanted us to have a traditional American Thanksgiving experience. We had great food, friendship, a full belly and containers to take home a plate of leftovers for the day after.”
This year, approximately 40 students attended the meal. The menu included classic Thanksgiving foods including turkey, mashed potatoes, collard greens, stuffing, sweet potatoes, dinner rolls and gravy.
Though this year’s menu was more limited as compared with last year’s menu, students still thoroughly appreciated Brentley’s efforts.
For those staying on campus, other faculty and staff members also extended a hand of hospitality. One of these people included Kristan Wheaton, associate professor of Intelligence Studies, who invited students to his home for dinner on Thanksgiving Day.
Students who stayed also had the opportunity to volunteer in the local area with food shelters who organize Thanksgiving events.
Whatever students chose to do, the kindness extended by others did not go unnoticed.
“I appreciated the obvious effort put in by the event organizers, including putting together this complimentary dinner and experience for those of us who had nowhere else to go for the holiday,” Quiñones said.
“I recognize that Tyler Brentley is new to the job and think he is working diligently to put us on the map and make multicultural students feel more included on campus. I am very grateful for this contribution to the Mercyhurst community.”