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Holidays at College: Campus Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving is an American holiday celebrated by students and families across the country, but for the over 819,000 international college students, and many US students who can’t make the trip home, the long weekend can be lonely on an empty campus.

Some colleges have realized this and made efforts to make this holiday a fun time to be on campus. Here are some of the country’s largest and longest-running college campus Thanksgiving traditions:

The Ohio State University Thanksgiving Dinner
Started 22 years ago as a small gathering for a few graduate students left behind during the holiday, the Thanksgiving Dinner at Ohio State University has become one of the most famous campus Thanksgiving traditions in the country. Held every Thanksgiving Day, the event attracts students, faculty, staff and their families.

Last year’s Thanksgiving Dinner included 120 turkeys, 432 pounds each of green beans and corn, 320 pounds of corn bread and 120 pies for 1,600 hungry guests. This year’s Thanksgiving Dinner is expected to attract nearly 2,000 guests, making OSU’s event one of the largest Thanksgiving Day dinners on a college campus.

Smith College Thanksgiving Day Matchup
In its fourth year, the Thanksgiving Day Matchup at Smith College is quickly becoming one of the most popular campus Thanksgiving traditions. During the fall, students and faculty members volunteer to invite an international student home for the holiday as a way to welcome these students to the campus community and ensure everyone has a place to go on Thanksgiving.

Hesston College Thanksgiving Weekend: A Family Celebration
For over 45 years, students, faculty, and their families have been celebrating Thanksgiving on campus with three days of events including a traditional Thanksgiving meal, music concerts, a talent show, men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, a two-mile run/walk and a luminary walk at Dyck Arboretum.

Prospective students and their families are also encouraged to attend and even stay in the dorms to learn about the school and its academic programs, and participate in one of the school’s biggest traditions.

Apart from Thanksgiving celebrations, students can look for support programs for first-year and international students when creating a balanced college list. These can aid in making the college transition a smooth one and making your new home away from home feel more welcoming!

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