Thanksgiving on Campus

Cooked turkey

Although historians differ on how turkey became the most popular mainstay of Thanksgiving Day meals in the U.S, many believe it was because the American turkey (Meleagris gallopa) is native to North America.

When you're a student at UNC and distance or a work schedule keep you from going home for Thanksgiving, you can still have your traditional meal of turkey with all the trimmings and enjoy holiday comradeship with your peers, thanks to the volunteer efforts of staff in the school's Housing and Residential Education department.

Although campus residence halls remain open during the short holiday break, dining facilities are closed, which was the impetus for the first HRE Thanksgiving meal a decade ago, according to HRE Director Brad Shade.

This year, the tradition of providing a Thanksgiving meal for residence hall students and staff who don't leave campus, is being ramped up to provide a full day of activities in North Residence Hall's main lounge.

According to co-organizer Nicole Stella, director of Lawrenson Residence Hall, the celebration will begin at 8 a.m. with hot chocolate and another tradition of the holiday - viewing the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on TV.

The parade will be followed by appetizers at 11 a.m., the Thanksgiving meal at noon and an afternoon of leftovers and watching football on TV.

Stella said that the meal was catered the past two years, but because co-organizer Elias Quinonez, director of North Hall, is passionate about cooking, the two, with help from his wife and her roommate, will prepare the turkey, stuffing, several traditional side dishes and pumpkin pies themselves. That's no small feat given that they could be feeding as many as 40 or 50 people.

Students are being encouraged to bring their own side dish, Stella said, which could turn the meal into an impromptu potluck with an international flair since many of those attending will represent some of the 30-plus countries from which students come to UNC.

That's part of the attraction for Geoff Phillip, a Lawrenson Hall resident assistant whose family lives in Longmont but who has to man the hall's front desk on Thursday.

"The dishes that the international students bring are great," said Phillip, who attended the meal last year. "Plus, it's cool that they can be exposed to something that's so American."

- UNC News Service

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