When you think of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, you think of pants with an elastic waist, a giant turkey, heaping plates of mashed potatoes and family all-around. Unfortunately, some students at Winona State University do not have the luxury of going home for the holidays to celebrate Thanksgiving this way.
For the students that cannot make it home for the holidays, Maria Hall’s hall council wanted to do something for them. So they brought Thanksgiving to the halls in their own version of Friendsgiving in Maria Hall’s basement.
Hall council is a part of Residence Housing Association, or RHA, at Winona State. Each residence hall has its own hall council, consisting of four residents who are dedicated to making their halls welcoming, inclusive and fun.
Jarred Schmitz, a first-year student and the vice president of Maria’s hall council spent the evening slicing turkey for the feast, making sure everyone left with a full tummy and felt in the spirit for the holiday season.
“We found out that there are a lot of students on campus who are international students and are unable to go home for the holidays, so we wanted to bring the holiday spirit to them,” Schmitz said. “This also seemed like a great way to get to know more people within our hall through cooking and conversing over food.”
Freedom Martin, a first-year student and public health major, attended Maria Hall’s Friendsgiving.
Martin said, “When I heard that Maria hall council was hosting a big Thanksgiving for the university, I thought it was an excellent idea. This was a chance for everyone who couldn’t go home for Thanksgiving to get together and enjoy it with their friends instead.”
Kyler Phan, a first-year student and president of Maria’s hall council, was pleasantly surprised at how many students attended their Friendsgiving.
“Sixty students came to our event. It went really well, everyone enjoyed the food and each other’s company.” Phan said. “Many residents came up to us at the end of the event content with the food and were thankful for the chance to come together and eat with residents in their halls that they don’t normally see.”
Matthew Sosso, a first-year student and secretary of Maria’s hall council was thoroughly impressed with the food turnout.
“All of the floors met together and created their own dish to bring to the party. There was a group of students from other resident halls that came and brought extra pies. This event would not have been so successful without the help of our resident assistants and their residents,” Sosso said.
With the help of Chartwells catering some of the food, RA’s and residents donating homemade treats, Maria Hall’s Friendsgiving had ham, turkey, alfredo noodles, salad, stuffing, pie and more.
“The food was a smashing success. Not much was left at the end and it seemed that everyone was satisfied and ready for a good Thanksgiving post-dinner nap,” Martin said.
Rachel Nelson, a first-year student and treasurer of Maria hall council also helped put on the event. Nelson shared her thanks to all the residents of Maria Hall and the RA’s for all their help and support during their Friendsgiving.
“We’re not just friends, we’ve become a family in Maria Hall. It’s not just a residence hall, this is our home. This was a perfect event for us to come together not simply as friends, not just as neighbors but as a family.” Nelson said.