For some University of California, Santa Barbara students, not being able to go home until a day or two before Thanksgiving might mean not having to listen to our parents hassling the rest of the family to clean the house, and yet still have the opportunity to wait in line together for the doors to open for Black Friday shopping. For some cash-strapped, out-of-state, and international Gauchos, Thanksgiving means a bit of loneliness and to some degree, confusion.
President Thomas Jefferson once said Thanksgiving was “the most ridiculous idea [he has] ever heard,” yet 91 percent of Americans celebrate Thanksgiving in some way. According to Mario Munoz, the Associate Director of the UCSB Resident Placement and Assignment Services, students who are residing in our residence halls have “historically needed to sign up to stay over Thanksgiving weekend. Last year we had 130 students stay out of a total of 5631, or 2%.”
To his best guess, Munoz wrote that approximately “10% of our undergraduate apartment residents, 25% of our graduate apartment residents, and 50% of our family student housing residents” had stayed in the past and would stay over the coming weekend.
UCSB is proud to be home for many international students. Economics and accounting third year Nicole Zheng and her roommate, Wen Shen, a third year economics major, both from China, said they are considering staying around for Thanksgiving this year.
Thanksgiving is unfamiliar to many in China, home to 65 percent of UCSB’s international students according to the 2015-2016 Campus Profile, and people are not used to putting a turkey in the oven for hours. Shen claims that Thanksgiving in American resembles the idea of togetherness.
“I still miss my family a lot even though we don’t usually celebrate Thanksgivings,” Shen said.
The idea of Thanksgiving, however, is familiar to the students even though they remain clueless as to what their plans should entail over the long weekend. Zheng said that “maybe [she] should starting studying for finals.”
“My impression of Thanksgiving is about having the whole family around the table with a turkey in the middle and perhaps a little bit of Barbeque and a bit of wine,” said Zheng. She also could not help but express her passion for some other traditional Thanksgiving dishes.
“I love the mashed potatoes as well,” Zheng went on. “They smell so good with the seasonings.”
To the small percentage of the community who has decided to stay “home,” fear not. The Associated Students Food Bank and others have decided to break bread with UCSB students on Thurs., Nov. 24 at the Student Resource Building.
“We recognize that many students in our community might not have the ability to go home for the holidays for various reasons and hope that this event will provide students with a support during this time,” said A.S. Food Bank Coordinator Tuyen Nguyen.
Supported by Housing & Residential Services, the Office of International Students and Scholars, and Counseling & Psychological Services, this event will provide students with a way to experience Thanksgiving on campus. Previous versions of the event drew about 250 guests, and began as a way to introduce the holiday to international students living in Manzanita Village.
With less than half a month away from delicious turkeys and all kinds of great meals prepared by families and communities, Gauchos at their “home away from home” will not be lonely and can join a series of events planned by campus coordinators. Thanksgiving at UCSB can be warm as well.
For those who are staying in one of UCSB’s residence halls, the buildings will close at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 23 and will remained closed until 10 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 27.