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Turkey day is for everyone with friendsgiving across campus

Brooklyn Pierson (right), a junior media and journalism major, takes a slice of pizza during a dinner with friends from her ministry on Nov. 8, 2018, at the Mellow Mushroom. Pierson is the organizer of a Friendsgiving planned for the following week.

Urban Dictionary defines Friendsgiving as “a holiday for people who resent their real family,” but people can love their families and still enjoy sharing thanks with friends — including students here at UNC. 

Friendsgiving is catered to those who like turkey and friends — it is that simple. There are several Thanksgiving events on campus for those who cannot spend time with their families, or for those looking for additional ways to enjoy the festivities of the season.

Tar Heel Thanksgiving, hosted by The Carolina Club, is one of largest Thanksgiving events. This year it is estimated to serve around 500 students who cannot go home over the break. 

The event will be held on Thanksgiving Day at The Carolina Club on Stadium drive. Members sponsor students so that they can enjoy a complimentary meal. 

“We want students to come and feel at home,” said Cassie Lawlor, director of member relations.

John Rodriguez, general manager, is a strong proponent of Tar Heel Thanksgiving and the sense of community it creates.

“The neatest thing is when students first come in and get the chance to have a great meal surrounded by friends and members of our club,” Rodriguez said. “It is a really great day.” 

The Carolina Club is not the only organization that caters to international students. International Friends is an organization comprised of students from different Christian student organizations on campus that will host a Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 9. 

This dinner will be held at the University Presbyterian Church and allows international students the opportunity to eat turkey, learn about the history of pilgrims and share thanks. 

“The goal of this event is to clear up the mystery of what Thanksgiving is all about,” said Julie Jones, International friends staff member. “We share what we are thankful for and enjoy the spirit of gratitude.”

Senior Arya Xiaoke Ji, is appreciative for this Thanksgiving tradition to further immerse herself in American culture. Xiaoke Ji said these dinners help her overcome the pressures of adjusting to a new environment and the rigor of academics. 

“I have been to two Thanksgiving dinners with International Friends. Both were super fun and they made me feel at home,” Xiaoke Ji said. “I know they are people who know me and they are willing to help me.”

UNC’s Campus Outreach, a student ministry group on campus, is also hosting a Friendsgiving meal. On Nov. 18 leaders of Campus Outreach will meet at the Carmichael Kitchen to eat and play games to celebrate the spirit of friendship, said Brooklyn Kugelmann, head of the event planning committee.

“Friendsgiving is a chance to bring our friends together to celebrate and to be thankful for each others' company,” said Kugelmann. 

Organizations at UNC are working to make Thanksgiving a holiday that can be appreciated by all students. Turkey season isn’t just for those who split pie with their families — it is also for international students and even for those who resent their families.

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