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Harvard Students Celebrate Thanksgiving on Campus with Holiday Dinner and Friendsgiving Gatherings

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While many students returned home for Thanksgiving break, others celebrated the holiday on campus with events hosted by the College and organized by student groups.

Annenberg Hall served a traditional New England Thanksgiving dinner open to all students, including several pie options and a cheese and bread board. The dining hall, which offered extended dining hours for the holiday, was packed with students, staff, and even administrators — including University President Claudine Gay — from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“It’s so nice,” Bonnie Zhai ’27 said. “I’m so grateful that they did this.”

Hailing from Vancouver, Zhai decided to stay home due to long flight times. Zhai was not alone in her concerns — many other students cited flight times and cost as reasons to remain on campus.

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Kevin Tan ’24, a first-generation, low-income student from Los Angeles, has stayed on campus every Thanksgiving break. He cited cost as one of the factors he has stayed on campus.

“It’s kind of a lot of money, especially as an FGLI student,” Tan said.

“I’m staying on campus because my family recently moved further away,” Henry H. Wu ’25 said. “I usually go home for Thanksgiving, but they’re just a lot farther than I’m used to, so I just decided to stay here.”

Other students, like Leo K. Schirokauer ’24, stayed on campus “to be more productive.”

“I don’t get as much work done when I go home, so I want to stay here and just get as much done while the campus is quiet and empty,” Schirokauer said.

In addition to the College’s Thursday dinner at Annenberg, students who stayed on campus had the opportunity to celebrate at other gatherings, including an Adams House Family Thanksgiving Dinner and a Friendsgiving celebration hosted by Harvard Primus.

On Friday evening, the Harvard College Queer Students Association hosted their second Friendsgiving dinner.

QSA co-president Atlas Sanogo ’24 highlighted the importance of this event for queer students in a time where “there’s a lot of talk about family and what that means.”

“For queer people, that can be sometimes a little bit complicated,” Sanogo said. “As a queer community, we find each other and we support each other, even when our families don’t.”

Byron S. Gonzalez ’25, QSA’s other co-president, said he believes the Friendsgiving is “important” and “needs to be continuing to be supported financially” because it has “so much deeper meaning” for queer students on campus.

Students also took advantage of the break to relax, spend time with friends, and get back in touch with hobbies.

“I’m planning to go to Harvard Bookstore and just sit there and read for a little bit,” Zhai said.

Tan, who planned to go cafe-hopping and explore the greater Boston area, said Thanksgiving break was “the perfect time to just get off campus.”

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