November 16, 2012
Thanksgiving tradition raises community spirits
The tradition started in 1981 and still continues to be a faculty and student favorite. The tradition is something that is mentioned on tours, preview days, orientation and through the student body as a perk to Susquehanna's campus.
"It's one of the best days of the year," President L. Jay Lemons said. Each year students sign up with friends to sit together at a table for the Thanksgiving dinner. The traditional Thanksgiving foods such as turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce are served.
Every year, Aramark starts their preparations early because there are so many students. Robert Ginader, director of food services, expected to have 190 pounds of turkey, 400 pounds of potatoes, 150 pounds of stuffing, 140 pounds of green beans, 280 pounds of corn, 60 gallons of gravy and 175 pumpkin pies.
Every year the tradition starts as Rev. Mark Wm. Radecke, university chaplain, offers a blessing after everyone is seated. Following, Lemons gives a toast to all of the students in attendance and everyone who has helped put the meal together. "Thanksgiving dinner is a change of linens and a change of routine that makes it a special night," Lemons said. "Like faculty and staff, I help serve the food and clean up."
Faculty and staff also get to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal once both meal sessions for students are over. Since the tradition began, faculty has served the students dinner. John Foltz, communications department professor, said there are some faculty members that go and help out every year.
Karen DeFrancesco, adjunct professor of communications, said of the dinner: "It keeps me grounded and reminds me what Thanksgiving is all about. It's nice to be the one serving others and making the event special."
The tradition is also grounded in the students, each year students sign up with a group of friends to organize table seating for the dinner. Students are very enthusiastic about the dinner. Sophomore Ben Urich said, "It's a great experience with friends that I look forward to every year."
Freshman Catherine Beaumont, who was attending the dinner for the first time, said, "I have not been to this dinner before, but I hear from all my upperclassmen friends that it's a great experience."
The Thanksgiving dinner is a tradition that even alumni enjoy after graduation. Christopher Balbi '12 said: "During my four years at SU, I took for granted that my friends were so close, and Thanksgiving dinner was a prime example of that. When else in my life would I have the opportunity to sit with some of my best friends and share a meal? I simply got to enjoy the moment."
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