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Celebrating Thanksgiving Away From Home
For students unable to make it home for Thanksgiving, campus groups have planned events to create a family atmosphere and also to share cooking.
Campus groups, most notably those within Residence Life and others supporting international students, have organized events so students can enjoy the camaraderie and food associated with the holiday.
While some UA's residence halls have already hosted Thanksgiving dinners, Villa del Puente is hosting a dinner on Thursday and La Aldea, which houses UA graduate students, is hosting an event Sunday, said Pam Obando, associate director for communication and outreach for Residence Life.
On Sunday, students at Árbol de la Vida hosted "Sides of Thanksgiving," an event featuring a range of side dishes, including mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, cornbread, macaroni and cheese, pumpkin and apple pies with whipped cream."I think that as our semester progresses, the hall residents develop a sense of family among each other," said Christopher Anderson, senior community director for Árbol de la Vida, which houses UA Honors College students.
Additionally, a dinner for international students was held the First United Methodist Church last week, sponsored by UA's International Student Services and the Campus Christian Center Ministries.
"It was a really big hit," said Noelle Sallaz, an international student adviser.
Sallaz said about 90 international students attended the standing-room only event, which the office has supported for years.
"It is one of our most popular events. It is always completely full," she said, adding that a group of about 20 volunteers work to cook the meal each year. And, already, Sallaz's office is planning for the next holiday season with plans to take dozens of international students to attend the Tucson Winterhaven Festival of Lights next month.
Also, UA Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a German studies professor and Faculty Fellow at Apache-Santa Cruz, helped plan a homestyle meal for students this month with the assistance of other Faculty Fellows.
Similar to the international student dinner, the Thanksgiving meal be held Thursday at 6 p.m. in Yuma Hall. While the event is open to all students, residents of the halls Yuma, Yavapai and Apache-Santa Cruz are strongly encouraged to attend.
"It is so important to celebrate all we have to be thankful for with our families, whether that pertain to blood relatives or community bonds," Anderson said.
He added that while the campus events are not a complete substitute for being with loved ones, "we hope that this brings a touch of home to their lives."