All-University Thanksgiving tradition to offer fall food and festivities

Students gather for Thanksgiving turkey and good times during All-University Thanksgiving last year. This year, the event will take place in three dining halls — Memorial, Penland and East Village. Baylee VerSteeg | Multimedia Journalist

By Bridget Sjoberg | Staff Writer

Each year, the Baylor community gathers to celebrate one of the university’s largest and most cherished traditions — All-University Thanksgiving. This year’s event will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, but will be a bit different than years past.

While the Thanksgiving meal is typically held on Fountain Mall, this year’s event will take place inside three Baylor dining halls — Penland, Memorial and East Village. The switch occurred due to unpredictable weather conditions, but all food will still be free to Baylor students, faculty and staff.

Weatherford senior Emma Beaird serves as co-chair on Student Foundation’s campus promotions committee, a team that executes planning for the organization. She said Student Foundation is partnering with Baylor Student Government and Chamber of Commerce to organize this year’s All-University Thanksgiving.

“Together, our three organizations have been meeting weekly to work on this event all semester, and we’re really excited to see the student body come together and celebrate,” Beaird said. “The partnership has been really fun since we’ve been able to exchange ideas about how to run our organizations and we learn a lot from one another. We even had a mixer to watch the Iowa State game together. We have similar missions to be ambassadors for and serve Baylor.”

Student Foundation’s campus promotions committee also helps to plan the Bearathon and does grand stands for the Homecoming Parade, and the group as a whole helps support prospective students and alumni.

“It’s been impactful to see the way that Baylor takes care of students through every cycle of their lives,” Beaird said. “I’ve seen how our admissions department cares for and walks alongside prospective students, and as a current student, I’ve seen different ways to get involved as an alumni — they’re committed and care so much about Baylor.”

Beaird said this year’s Thanksgiving event will serve classic food options like turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, rolls, green beans, cranberry sauce and an assortment of pies. There will also be vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. Beaird believes that despite the unconventional indoor location of the event, All-University Thanksgiving will maintain a fall-themed atmosphere.

“We can guarantee that there will still be a fall feel,” Beaird said. “We’re going to take time to decorate and add fall flair to each of the dining halls — it will be done well and made to feel like Thanksgiving. There will also be activities like photo booths, yard games and pumpkin painting. It’s an opportunity to celebrate fall and togetherness and enjoy a meal as a Baylor family.”

In addition to Thanksgiving food and fellowship, Beaird said there will be collections of non-perishable food items, and that Thanksgiving T-shirts will be sold for $10, with all donations and money benefitting The Store, Baylor’s on-campus food pantry.

“Bring items like peanut butter, jelly, pasta sauce, and spaghetti noodles,” Beaird said. “Any canned goods or non-perishable items are good, as well as anything to stock the shelves with.”

San Clemente, Calif., sophomore Louise Griffin attended All-University Thanksgiving last year and anticipates this year’s event.

“I loved the free food and being able to celebrate Thanksgiving with my friends and the whole Baylor community,” Griffin said. “It definitely unified the community and is a great way to bring everyone together. I can’t wait to share a great meal with my friends and get in the holiday spirit.”

Griffin appreciates Baylor’s role in celebrating holidays on campus through events like All-University Thanksgiving and Christmas on 5th Street.

“I love the holidays, and Baylor does a great job of celebrating the holiday season in ways that unite the Baylor family,” Griffin said.