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Turkey Tradition: Groups Gather for Annual Meal

November 19, 2009 12:00 PM
Fran Simon fsimon@tulane.edu

The Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Office of International Students and Scholars continue a Thanksgiving dinner tradition on Tuesday (Nov. 24) beginning at 4:30 p.m. in the Qatar Ballroom of the Lavin-Bernick Center on the uptown campus.


Sodexo, Tulane dining services provider, is donating turkeys for a Thanksgiving dinner on campus.

Students who are not able to go home for the Thanksgiving holiday are invited to attend the dinner. For members of the international community, the get-together is an opportunity to learn about an aspect of American culture while enjoying a delicious meal.

"For most of our international students, this will be their one experience of the traditions behind the Thanksgiving holiday," says David Gowdey, director of the Office of International Students and Scholars. Currently there are more than 1,300 international students and scholars who are at Tulane to conduct research or study.

Led by Carolyn Barber-Pierre, assistant vice president for student affairs and intercultural life, Tulane staff members have volunteered to prepare New Orleans–style side dishes for the dinner, including cornbread, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, dirty rice, green bean casserole, pies and more.

Sodexo, which provides dining services at Tulane, is donating the turkeys and dressing. Attendees are asked to bring a vegetable or dessert, if possible.

Also as part of the holiday festivities, the Tulane Black Faculty and Staff Association is collecting canned goods to create food baskets for needy families.

"The Thanksgiving dinner helps international students and scholars build social relationships," Gowdey says. "Lots of the international students come here without knowing anyone, and programming such as this gives them opportunities to interact with each other. It's heartwarming to see cross-cultural friendships develop."

More than 500 international students attended last year's dinner, he says.

The Thanksgiving dinner is free and open to all Tulane faculty, staff, students and scholars who are not going home for the holiday. To attend, RSVP by e-mail to the Office of Multicultural Affairs or phone 504-865-5181.