Some Ohio State students are planning to share their Thanksgiving meal with about 1,600 other Buckeyes.
The university is set to put on a traditional Thanksgiving meal on Thursday at the Ohio Union, said Jin Yan, a third-year in accounting and co-chair of the event.
“It started 23 years ago with just 25 graduate students who weren’t from Ohio. They invited other students who didn’t have anywhere to go, and had a potluck at the Hale Black Cultural Center,” Yan said. “And it’s continued to grow ever since.”
The event will consist of two separate meals, at 11:45 a.m. and 2 p.m., Yan said. There will be a video presentation of commentary from students on the subject of Thanksgiving, and speeches from leaders of OSU, including President Michael Drake.
“A new aspect this year is we want to encourage everyone to give thanks,” said Asia Barker, a third-year student in human resources and co-chair of the event.
“We will bring thank you cards, so everyone will have a chance to write and give thanks to their families, professors, advisers — whoever,” Barker said.
The budget for the dinner is about $30,000. It is co-sponsored by the Office of International Affairs, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, University Residences and Dining Services and the OSU Alumni Association, Barker said.
This year’s meal is expected to be a traditional Southern meal catered by the Union that will include roasted turkey with gravy, stuffing, cornbread, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie as a few of the items, Barker said.
The meal is free and open to all Buckeyes with a ticket to the event. Tickets are available with a BuckID until Thursday at the Office of International Affairs, the Ohio Union information desk and the Hale Black Cultural Center, Yan said.
“I can’t wait to witness the smiles on people’s faces, showing the gratitude given for being able to call OSU their home,” said Iris Cao, a third-year student in marketing and logistics management.
Cao will be one of about 200 Buckeyes expected to volunteer at both meals on Thursday, Yan said.
“Thanksgiving to me is a special time of the year, when I can reflect on all the grace that I have received and think further on how I could give back more from my own pocket in the upcoming year,” Cao said.
Cao plans to volunteer at the event on Thursday to help other students feel welcomed and included at OSU — something she said celebrating Thanksgiving the past two years has given her as an international student.
“It’s about cultural communication and sharing memorable moments with friends and families from the OSU community. There is nothing I like better,” she said.