Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means most students, faculty and staff are planning to spend the holiday with loved ones. While most people will leave to enjoy a meal with family and friends, several groups are planning to mark the spirit of the holiday right here on campus.
The International Club, along with International Student Services (ISS), will host a traditional Thanksgiving dinner on Friday, Nov. 20, in Nord Hall 310. The following day, LL.M. (Master of Law) students will share a meal at the Triangle Apartments. And on the evening of Thanksgiving, Juniper Community Council will host an international Thanksgiving potluck for students in the Juniper community unable to make it home for the holiday.
In addition to the special meals, the Office of Multicultural Affairs is accepting donations for its Eighth Annual Turkey Drive, which benefits needy families and shelters in the local community.
Learn more about the special dinners taking place on campus and the turkey drive program:
A traditional Thanksgiving meal hosted by the International Club--with support from ISS--has been a staple on campus for at least 13 years.
"A lot of international students might not have anywhere to travel during Thanksgiving break or they may not have experienced a Thanksgiving dinner," said Elise Lindsay, director of International Student Services. At least 100 people—students, children and family members, alumni, staff and local families who've hosted international studentsMdash;are expected to pull up a chair at this year's collective table.
The catered event features traditional Thanksgiving fare such as cranberry sauce, potatoes, pies and of course, the turkey. Fall colors and decor will accent the event, and Marielena Maggio, program coordinator and student adviser, has created a Thanksgiving-themed quiz.
Akil Murthi, co-president of the International Club, said this year's dinner will be significant for another reason. "The international community used to primarily be focused around graduate students, and the undergraduate international students used to be relatively small in comparison. However, this freshman class has close to a 100 international students. They get to mix with different people from the Case community and get more comfortable with life here in America."
Murthi adds that the dinner is not intended to be a formal affair, but instead, is all about family and building ties with one another in the true spirit of thanksgiving.
The event is open to the entire campus community. Tickets are $3 for undergraduates, $5 for graduate students and others and $1 for children seven and under. Tickets can be purchased in the ISS office in Sears 210.
The Thanksgiving dinner is the culminating event for International Education Week. Learn more about the International Club, which is open to all students.
During the Thanksgiving season, Rafael Brown, adjunct assistant professor of law, becomes "Chef Brown." That's because he's spent the past seven years roasting turkeys for students in the LL.M. (Master of Law) program for international lawyers. Many of the students call the Triangle Apartments home, and that's where their annual feast is held.
Brown said he started doing the dinners because he wanted to "create a setting where LL.M.s can feel the quintessential American tradition in a family setting that typifies our program here at the law school."
Adria J. Sankovic, assistant director in the Office of Foreign Graduate Legal Studies, echoed those sentiments: "We try to give the LL.M.s a true sense of a family Thanksgiving dinner--sitting at the table and having our professors carve the turkey. It is a wonderful tradition which our alumni talk about for years."
The dinner has grown so large, Brown expects to cook at least four turkeys for this Saturday's dinner. The students, who hail from numerous countries, will bring their own traditional dishes, resulting in a typical American Thanksgiving meal with an international flair. In addition to turkeys, Brown and others also whip up side dishes.
About 60 people are expected this year, including law school faculty and staff members. Alumni also consider the meal to be a special event. "Last year, a student flew all the way back from Texas to return to the Thanksgiving dinner. We may have some surprises this year," Brown added.
Students who live in the Juniper community who are unable to make it home for the holiday have a great option: The International Thanksgiving Potluck begins at 6 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 26, in Sherman Lobby.
"Juniper Council is a leader in promoting multiculturalism, and by hosting this event, we hope to increase awareness of the Thanksgiving holiday and other holidays to the diverse population on campus," said Poorva Limaye, committee chair.
Students will have an opportunity to make or bring an item, and Juniper Council is sponsoring the ingredients and utensils needed for those interested in making a dish for the potluck.
"We look forward to getting more people aware of this event and planning to attend. We hope to see many faces at the International Thanksgiving Dinner!" Limaye added.
Since its inception, the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) Turkey Drive has resulted in more than 1,300 turkeys donated to several Greater Cleveland families in shelters. Monetary donations will be accepted until Monday, Nov. 23, in the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Sears 450.
"The state of the economy and number of displaced families confirms the need for your monetary donation like never before," said Deborale Richardson-Bouie, director of OMA. "We are counting on the CWRU community to assist us again this year. While last year’s family shelter numbers were up, several of our local shelters reported being at capacity with as many as 30 women and children on their waiting lists."
The Office of Student Activities and Leadership, New Student and Parent Programs and the Center for Civic Engagement and Learning are collaborating on this project to provide side dishes to accompany the turkeys. Call OMA at 368-2904 for more information.
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