On Thursday, after campus has cleared out, the handful of students left on campus will find they have more options than usual for Thanksgiving dinner.
USC Hospitality, University Residential Student Community, the Office of International Services and the Trojan Knights have all arranged events for students who find themselves stuck on campus for the holiday.
“Lots of students go away with friends who live locally,” said Lynette Merriman, senior associate dean for USC Student Affairs. “But for those who choose to stay behind, we do have opportunities for Thanksgiving dinner.”
Though students in previous years have complained about the lack of dining options on Thanksgiving week, Merriman said there will be plenty of opportunities for students to get a good meal this year.
The school-sponsored options include dinners at Parkside Dining Hall and Everybody’s Kitchen, and a match-up program for international students to eat dinner with American families, Merriman said. Many residential faculty will also host full Thanksgiving dinners Tuesday night.
Mercedes Antonich, an EVK
employee who has worked at the Thanksgiving dinner, said the dining hall tries to create a welcoming experience for students. She said creating that family experience is worth the extra time spent at EVK.
“It’s so nice, I never minded it because we close at 7:30 p.m. and then go home and eat with our own family,” she said.
EVK is expecting about 70 students to attend its Thanksgiving dinner.
International students will also have the chance to have a more intimate experience for Thanksgiving dinner.
The Office of International Services
offers an annual Thanksgiving match-up program, which pairs students with local host families to create a cross-cultural experience. About 80 students participate in the program each year, according to OIS.
Waleed Ishtiaq, an international student from Pakistan and a freshman majoring in engineering, said he was unsure whether he will celebrate Thanksgiving, but the international student group invited him to join a family.
“A lot of people have invited me, so I might as well go,” Ishtiaq said. “I guess it’s better than staying here alone.”
This year, the Trojan Knights will host a new Thanksgiving dinner in front of Tommy Trojan, since Thanksgiving falls in the middle of its annual Save Tommy Week.
Mark Wynohradnyk, a Trojan Knight and a sophomore majoring in business administration and cinematic arts, said he’s glad to be spending Thanksgiving on campus if it means serving the USC community.
“I’m all the way from the East Coast, so I’m definitely excited to be doing this on Thanksgiving,” Wynohradnyk said. “Protecting Tommy Trojan comes first — if that means not seeing my family, that’s what I’ll do.”
The Knights’ dinner costs $25 per person, and they are expecting about 50 people to attend.