Some Ohio State students are planning to share their Thanksgiving meal with about 1,600 other Buckeyes.
Thanksgiving Dinner — sponsored by the Office of International Affairs, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, University Residences and Dining Services and the OSU Alumni Association — is a traditional Thanksgiving meal expected to feed about 1,600 members of the OSU community Thursday in an effort to bring Buckeyes closer together, said Maureen Miller, an OIA spokeswoman.
“For those students, faculty and staff who are unable to go home for the holiday, it’s nice to have a location to come to right on campus that has that same kind of family atmosphere — where people can come together, share a meal, share conversation and laughter for a couple of hours on a special day,” Miller said. “It’s going to be just like sitting down at your family’s dinner table.”
OSU’s Thanksgiving feast started 21 years ago when some OSU graduate students held a Thanksgiving gathering at the Hale Black Cultural Center, according to the OIA website.
This year’s meal is set to include roasted turkey with gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, greens, corn bread and pumpkin pie, among other traditional Thanksgiving dishes, Miller said.
To help accommodate the expected guests, there are two separate meals scheduled: one to be served at 11:45 a.m. and one at 2 p.m. at the Ohio Union.
Students, faculty, staff and their families can attend the event for free by getting tickets at 100 Oxley Hall, the Hale Center or the Ohio Union Information Center.
In addition to a wholesome meal, Miller said the event is meant to educate guests about the meaning behind Thanksgiving with a slide show presentation planned to display facts about the holiday’s origin.
“We like to offer an educational component to Thanksgiving Dinner since there’s so many international students and scholars who attend the event,” Miller said.
Shantae Brooks, a fourth-year in fashion and retail studies and a student co-chair for the event, said she hopes the meal will educate guests on the importance of diversity as well.
“Our mission is to bring these people together to engage in an educational and positive dialogue while learning about different cultures and the people around them,” Brooks said in an email.
In addition to the food and brief history lesson, Brooks said attendees are slated to hear from guest speakers, including OSU Interim President Joseph Alutto, Hale Center director Larry Williamson and the Thanksgiving Dinner student co-chairs.
Gina Price, a third-year in agribusiness and applied economics from Atlanta, said she plans to attend the event because it’s too pricey to return home for the short break from classes.
“With only a week between Thanksgiving and Christmas break, it’s not worth the money to fly home,” Price said.
Although she can’t be with her family for the holiday, Price said she’s thankful OSU is having the dinner.
“It means a lot because I get to bond with my Buckeye family and still have a fun Thanksgiving,” Price said. “I hope to still have the homey feel of Thanksgiving and the holidays away from home.”
The food for the event is purchased from U.S. Foods, Miller said.
Last year, leftovers from the event were donated to various homeless shelters, Miller said, but because of careful planning based on ticket distribution this year, she doesn’t expect there to be many leftovers.
The amount of food prepared is relative to the number of guests expected to come, she said. Should there be an excess amount of guests — even though there hasn’t been in the past — Miller said OSU would do its best to make accommodations.