As colleges across the country clear out for the holiday break, many found ways to celebrate Thanksgiving with students before they left campus. Some schools hosted early Thanksgiving dinners, while others gave back to their communities through food drives.
Here’s a look at how foodservice operations celebrated Thanksgiving this year.
Thanksgiving before Thanksgiving
On Wednesday, Nov. 16, Salisbury University’s dining team hosted a “Thanksgiving before Thanksgiving” event. The menu was Thanksgiving themed, with options including applewood-smoked ham, buttered corn, green bean casserole and mashed potatoes. It also featured two types of pies, pumpkin spice cake and assorted cookies.
Exploring regional twists
The University of Maine celebrated the holiday with a “Thanksgiving around America” event. The menu featured sweet potato and crab soup, roast turkey with bacon-herb and cider gravy, and salmon with roasted tomato horseradish salsa, plus pecan pie and pumpkin cheesecake with marshmallow-sour cream topping and a gingersnap crust for dessert.
The motivation behind the event was to provide a look into how different areas and cultures adapt traditional dishes. Students, faculty and staff could use meal swipes to eat, and the event was open to the public as well.
The University of Illinois at Chicago, where dining services is run by Chartwells, featured a Thanksgiving-themed menu at its Thank-Ful event. In addition to holiday fare, the event focused on helping students give back to the community. Attendees were invited to build boxes filled with goods that were then donated to Pilsen Food Pantry.
The University of Miami’s dining team also hosted a food drive this November, leading up to its own Thank-Ful event. Students were encouraged to donate nonperishable items to the campus food pantry. The food drive ended with a Thanksgiving meal and pumpkin cheesecake parfaits for dessert.
Missouri State University celebrated the holiday on Nov. 16 with a special Thanksgiving-themed menu, a gratitude wall and donation boxes for the school’s food pantry. Students were also invited to build their own mini apple or pumpkin parfaits. The event also featured a “pie party” where students were welcome to enjoy a slice of pie.