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Thanksgiving Soundoff

Stephanie Jones, sophomore, unpacks her car after Thanksgiving break.
Stephanie Jones, sophomore, unpacks her car after Thanksgiving break.

Although many students fled home to enjoy the Thanksgiving break with their families, an assortment of athletes, international students and others remained at Duke. There were several events for the few who stayed on campus, such as Thanksgiving dinner at the Refectory Cafe at the Divinity School and a bus trip to Southpoint mall on Black Friday. Still, the campus was practically silent since the break began Tuesday—some called it eerie, and others said it was a welcome respite from the University’s typically rushed atmosphere. The Chronicle’s Lauren Carroll spoke with students about their experiences at an almost-empty Duke.

“[My friend and I] went to Lilly Library and rented all the movies we wanted to see before break started, and we watched them.... There wasn’t much [food] on campus, I was too lazy to get myself a real meal, so I ate a lot of snacks and a lot of cereal bars. Whenever I was feeling up to it I would take a walk to Main Street.”

—freshman Dan Altman, who did not want to take a bus all the way to his home in Connecticut

“The Refectory had a Thanksgiving lunch, so that was somewhat like home.... To a certain extent, I wish I could have seen my family, but I got a bunch of work done that I probably wouldn’t have if I had stayed home.”

—sophomore Zayd Ahmed, who stayed in order to get caught up on coursework

“It was nice to be able to meet up with students who also stayed here over Thanksgiving, but at the pizza and movie night at Southgate, there wasn’t enough food for the students.... The Thanksgiving lunch was very nice. They had a lot of turkey but started to run out of the vegetables and the other sides that went with it. I think they underestimated how many students would go to the events.”

—freshman Meaghan Li, from New Zealand

It was slightly inconvenient because the buses didn’t run Thursday or Friday, but it was nice to walk through the [Sarah P. Duke] Gardens because I have more time to do that stuff.

And the dorm was clean for once because they housecleaning staff cleaned it before break, and no one was there to make a mess.”

—junior Ming Jiu Li, who is from Singapore and a Resident Assistant on East Campus

“I went to football related activities, practice, meetings, watching films. Since we’re here for that reason, it made sense.... I went to one of my teammate’s house for Thanksgiving dinner with his family, so I didn’t lose the family aspect.”

—junior Anthony Pecoraro, who stayed on campus with the Duke football team

“I did a lot of reading, I just got a new book. Did some job searching to get the ball rolling before we get into finals.... And the pool table in the Bryan Center was empty, so I got some time in on that, and that’s usually hard to do.”

—senior Sam Schack, from Portland, Maine

“It’s too far to go home. It would take the whole break for me to go home and go back—I won’t be going home for Christmas break either.... It was quite lonely on campus, there was no one there. It was so quiet. On Wednesday, I got kind of scared because there was no one in my dorm.”

—freshman Laxmi Rajak, from Nepal

“Almost none of the on-campus eateries are open, so we wanted to provide food to the students. Every year we have a certain budgets for programs happening during Thanksgiving, and this year it was a little more formal than in years past.... A lot of people went to the [catered Thanksgiving] dinner, and I received numerous texts from students about the Southpoint trip, so I think that went well.”

—Kelly Cohen-Mazurowski, program coordinator for Housing, Dining and Residential Life who planned several East Campus events

“It was really relaxing. I actually slept a lot—more than I have in past weeks. I got to do a lot of things I haven’t been able to do. I read a few books and skyped with family and friends.... I also went to a couple of the activities. I went to the Thanksgiving dinner and the shopping trip.”

—freshman Andrea Tan, who decided that winter break is too soon to warrant going home this past week

“The weather was beautiful, so there were a lot of families around with their kids, playing in the gardens. It was a good time. I had a lot of friends staying as well, so it didn’t feel lonely.... Every break that I stay here is a little bit of relaxing and catching up. The campus slows down so it gives you time to catch your breath.”

—junior Anthony Lin, from Portland, Oregon

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