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How Brown community members celebrated Friendsgiving this holiday season

University offices, students hosted Thanksgiving meals, events across College Hill

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While some Brown community members return home to be with their families over Thanksgiving break, many also celebrate “Friendsgiving” on campus. These make-shift holiday celebrations can be found on all corners of campus — some are hosted by departments while others are planned with friends.

Joseph Joffe ’27, who’s an international student, spent his break at Brown and gathered with other international students at a friend’s house to celebrate their “first Thanksgiving,” he wrote in a message to The Herald.

Joffe and his friends celebrated the holiday with classic Thanksgiving fixings — turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and more. He “really enjoyed experiencing a ‘typical American Thanksgiving,” Joffe wrote.

The Office of Residential Life hosted around 50 students for a “Brown Resgiving,” an afternoon high tea party, Nov. 22. ResLife hosts a Friendsgiving celebration every year, but this is the first time the event has taken the form of a high tea, explained maisune Abu-Elhaija, area coordinator of program and theme house communities and the event’s organizer.

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Abu-Elhaija said that she wanted to create “an inviting opportunity for students to get together and do something that they might not have done before,” as afternoon high tea “tends to be financially inaccessible.”

“The reason I love afternoon tea is because it’s a meal,” she said. “It’s an immersive (and) grounding dining experience, but it’s culturally encouraged to have lots of moments of silence and that allows for introspection.” 

According to Abu-Elhaija, Brown Dining Services “really went all out and got very creative. They even had gluten-free, vegan, halal (and) lactose-intolerant options. They worked with pastry chefs. They rented fine china and teacups.”

“You could feel like people left rejuvenated,” she said. “It was held in a way that wasn’t distracting from the serious life matters or diminishing of our students’ care and involvement, but in a way that figuratively and literally helped them refill their teacup so they could keep going.” 

Brown Dining Services also helped students commemorate Thanksgiving with a special meal. “Each year, Brown Dining Services opens the Sharpe Refectory on Thanksgiving Day for all students, faculty and staff who remain on campus for this holiday,” George Barboza, vice president of Dining Services, wrote in an email to The Herald. “It is open to all regardless if they are on a meal plan or not.”

“We featured traditional roast turkey with all of the fixings, including mashed potatoes, candied yams, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, fresh vegetables and shrimp cocktail on the comfort lines, as well as vegan entrees,” Barboza wrote, adding that his highlight of the event was “witnessing students, faculty and staff enjoying a holiday meal together.”

One group of friends hosted “Johnsgiving,” a Friendsgiving event at their John St. house, wrote Kira McCarthy ’25 in a message to The Herald. According to McCarthy, the group  “invited their friends … that were still on campus.”

“The girls in the house made the chicken … and most other people brought sides, desserts and drinks,” McCarthy wrote. There was “definitely some type of community in the sense that everyone contributed something positive, whether that was food or conversation.” 

“I personally met multiple people that I wouldn’t have interacted with in my normal social circles,” she continued. 

Alex Tucker ’25.5, who also attended the John St. gathering, shared that her highlight of the event was “simply the joining together of various people from disparate groups on campus to celebrate friends, family and gratitude.”

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Leah Koritz

Leah Koritz is a Senior Staff Writer covering the student government beat under University News. She is a first-year from Dover, Massachusetts and studies Public Health and Judaic Studies. Leah can yas sdrow sdrawkcab (now read that backwards).



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