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Duke provides Thanksgiving traditions away from home

The International House, located on Campus Drive, hosted its annual Thanksgiving dinner Thursday for students, both domestic and international, who did not go home for the holiday.
The International House, located on Campus Drive, hosted its annual Thanksgiving dinner Thursday for students, both domestic and international, who did not go home for the holiday.

While some Dukies returned home for Thanksgiving to see family and friends, others remained on campus.

Some students said a trip home was either too expensive or time consuming given the break’s short span. Others simply did not feel the need to go home for Thanksgiving because they do not celebrate the holiday.

“We don’t have Thanksgiving in Hong Kong,” freshman Edlyn Koo said. “So the holiday experience was new to me, and I didn’t feel the need to go back [because of that].”

For those who stayed on campus, the University hosted a sushi night at Wilson Dormitory, provided buses to Southpoint mall for Black Friday shopping and served a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, allowing international and domestic students to enjoy the holiday together.

Lisa Beth Bergene, assistant dean of Residence Life, planned some of these events for Duke students on East Campus as a way to ease their transition for their first Thanksgiving away from home—or first Thanksgiving in general.

More than 50 students gathered at Pegram Dormitory on Thanksgiving Day to eat turkey and cranberry sauce while watching the New England Patriots play the Detroit Lions. Those on West Campus also enjoyed traditional Thanksgiving fare with a meal provided by Duke Dining in the Great Hall. Along with traditional meals, Grace’s Cafe, TGI Friday’s and Randy’s Pizza stayed open for the holiday.

Students said they were grateful to the people who planned these traditional holiday experiences.

“I appreciate what they’ve done for us because they could have stayed home with their families, but they provided us with a really great Thanksgiving,” said freshman Lucy Wei, an international student.

Most international students understood the historical importance of the holiday but some said they were confused by the importance of the food.

“I understand the holiday and the significance of the turkey, but I don’t know why we eat stuffing and cranberry sauce,” said freshman Jenny Zhang, a Chinese international student, adding that she did enjoy the festivities. “I’m so thankful I’m here at Duke and for all the people who care about me.”

The aftermath of the Thanksgiving meal concluded with resting until Black Friday sales began. Students were whisked away on buses to Southpoint and enjoyed themselves while buying cheaper clothes, electronics and more.

Koo said she signed up for all of the events hosted by Duke but that Black Friday was her favorite part of the break because of the reasonable prices.

“I thought the sales were really awesome, and it was a good thing that it didn’t feel that crowded in the store like my friends had told me [it would be],” Zhang said. “I guess I’m used to it because there are usually this many people in China shopping on a normal day.”

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