Thanksgiving Unity Dinner Welcomes All on November 24

November 16, 2016
  • Annual free Thanksgiving dinner for students who can’t get home
  • Last year, 435 people attended
  • Pre-registration deadline is by November 21
Students enjoy last year's Thanksgiving dinner in Brody.

Students enjoy last year's Thanksgiving dinner in Brody.

Staying in East Lansing for Thanksgiving weekend 2016? Don’t have a place to eat the traditional turkey dinner? Look no further: The Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions (OCAT) will host its annual Thanksgiving Day Unity Dinner on Thursday, November 24, from 3-6 p.m. in the Brody Classrooms.

This free event will feature food from local restaurants Bob Evans, No Thai, and King of the Grill, along with MSU Culinary Services. This year’s dinner will feature games, prizes and a DJ, in addition to delicious food.

The Unity Dinner is a celebration of the diversity here at MSU and was implemented to welcome and support students from various racial, ethnic, international and domestic backgrounds, according to organizers.

The annual dinner got its start during the Thanksgiving weekend of 2003. Dr. Felipe Lopez, then an ORESA Aide and a member of Culturas de las Razas Unidas (CRU), saw hundreds of students isolated and alone. With dining hall hours limited during the Thanksgiving break and many students lacking extra money to spend on food during the long weekend, Lopez took the initiative and invited East Neighborhood residents to a pizza dinner and called it “Homies-Giving.” Since 2003, there has been a Unity Dinner every Thanksgiving.

With traditional pumpkin pies calling to them, students and volunteers are excited about Thanksgiving.

With traditional pumpkin pies calling to them, students and volunteers are excited about Thanksgiving.

After Lopez left MSU in 2007, CRU and a cadre of dedicated OCAT staff members and volunteers, including OCAT’s Juan Flores, have organized the dinner.

“My favorite part of this is seeing all of the students eating together and making friends,” Flores said. “We’re really providing a place to build community and have a delicious meal when everything else is closed down.”

Last year, 435 students attended the event and many more were not able to sign in due to long lines of students waiting. Because of strong demand, students are strongly encouraged to pre-register.

The event is sponsored and supported by OCAT, CRU, Residential and Hospitality Services, the Office of International Students and Scholars, Neighborhood Student Success Collaborative, College of Social Work, the East Lansing Rotary Club, and Omega Delta Phi Fraternity.

The dinner is free and all students are welcome. To secure your place at the Thanksgiving Day Unity Dinner table and to ensure that there is enough food to go around, register by clicking here https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeUPRbOIyoY7dFNsMRQsTIfZ93agErB2S5ewmj-Q41OLPS8JQ/viewform and filling out the form. Or, stop by the OCAT office on the third floor of the Student Services Building. Pre-registration deadline is Monday, November 21, by midnight.

The Thanksgiving Day Unity Dinner is always accepting donations and new volunteers to help with distributing food. For more information about the dinner, or if you’re interested in getting involved, please contact Juan Flores at floresj2@vps.msu.edu or call 517-353-9590.

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