Photographer: Liz MoughonSelena Baker, the nutrition counselor for WellWorks, helps to serve a holiday feast to the international students in the College of Health Sciences and Professions during last year’s International Student Thanksgiving Dinner.
In the spirit of family gatherings, cultural exchange and giving thanks, staff at Ohio University’s College of Health Sciences and Professions are busy planning the feast and festivities for this year’s International Student Thanksgiving Dinner.
The sixth annual event is scheduled for 5 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21, in Grover Center’s Atrium Café. It is free and open to international students enrolled in the College of Health Sciences and Professions and their families.
Francis McFadden, assistant professor of nutrition and food sciences and chef and coordinator of the Atrium Café, started the college’s International Student Thanksgiving Dinner six years ago after returning from a two-year assignment teaching in London, England. He noted that the tradition facilitates cultural understanding and conversation between faculty and staff and the college’s international student body.
“New international students going to school at Ohio University may not have had the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving and may not understand what may be our most-celebrated holiday,” McFadden said. “My goal for this truly food-focused holiday is to help them understand what the Thanksgiving meal represents and why it is celebrated.”
Assisting McFadden in organizing the past two International Student Thanksgiving Dinners is Kristen Twining, a 2015 graduate of the college’s Food and Nutrition Sciences Program who is employed as the business manager at the Atrium Café.
Twining noted that the event also provides the College of Health Sciences and Professions an opportunity to show appreciation to the international students who add to the diverse fabric of the college’s community and to get to know those students a little better.
“It’s a wonderful event and a chance to interact with our international students and get to know more about them, their families, their homes countries and some of their traditions,” Twining said.
It’s also an opportunity for camaraderie among the college’s faculty and staff who volunteer to cook and serve the feast that this year will include roasted turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, cranberry relish, and apple and pumpkin pie.
In addition to the traditional Thanksgiving feast, this year’s event also will include several children’s activities, including Thanksgiving-themed crafts, games and the showing of “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.”
Twining noted that to better prepare for this annual tradition, this year the College of Health Sciences and Professions is asking international students who plan on attending the dinner to register for the event. Online registration is available here, and the deadline to register is Sunday, Nov. 19.
“The event is held for our international students and their families, and if they don’t have family here, they can bring a friend because no one eats Thanksgiving dinner alone,” Twining said.
For more information about this year’s event, contact Twining at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photographer: Lauren DickeyInternational students in the College of Health Sciences and Professions enjoy a Thanksgiving meal during the 2015 International Student Thanksgiving Dinner.
Photographer: Lauren DickeyA family-friendly event, the 2015 International Student Thanksgiving Dinner included a turkey piñata.