Cornucopia of connections made at International Student Thanksgiving Dinner

The annual International Student Thanksgiving Dinner took place on Tuesday and honored Baylor's international students and visiting scholars. Olivia Martin | Photo Editor

By Mariah Bennett | Staff Writer

Twenty-nine countries were represented in a Thanksgiving dinner dedicated to international students Tuesday.

The annual International Student Thanksgiving Dinner was held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Cashion 506 and was centered around honoring Baylor’s international students and visiting scholars.

Provided by Baylor Round Table, the Center for Global Engagement and the Office of the President, the dinner was originally started by former President Abner McCall in the 60s. Lauren Farish, Baylor Round Table Thanksgiving Dinner committee chair, said the event had 214 attendees this year.

Farish said attendees were slow to trickle in at first but were soon calling family and friends to join in on the event.

The event included a crafts table where attendees could make Thanksgiving crafts such as a hand turkey, and it had a table covered in a large piece of paper where attendees could write their thanks in their chosen language.

The free Thanksgiving meal was provided by the Office of the President. It included roasted sliced turkey breast, cornbread dressing, cranberry sauce, green beans, pumpkin and pecan pie and other traditional items.

The dinner also had a program, beginning with a welcome by Farish. There were multiple parts, but one significant one was the roll call of nations, which welcomed international students and visiting scholars to recognize them and their home country. Each country was called out, and attendees were invited to stand for their home country. Some of the 29 countries represented were Mexico, Germany and France.

Alexandria, Egypt, freshman Salma Battisha said the roll call of nations was her favorite part of the event.

“I thought it was really inclusive,” Battisha said. “Everyone seemed really excited to have their country’s name being called out. They really captured the whole idea and essence of the holiday.”

Arlington sophomore and Center for Global Engagement ambassador Aubrey Gilliam said she loved the event.

“I loved seeing everybody from different nationalities coming together over one of my favorite holidays,” Gilliam said.

Other highlights of the program included a blessing in three different languages and a Thanksgiving message by Provost Dr. Nancy Brickhouse.

“I think that everyday should be Thanksgiving,” Brickhouse said in the message. “It is a reminder, to me, that we should say thanks — and we should do it every day with regularity.”

Farish said the evening was about connection and sharing gratitude of being part of the Baylor family.

“One of the joys of having traditions is getting to share those with others,” Farish said. “See the people around you. Start to build those connections.”

Gilliam said that the night was about connections — not only among cultures but also across campus — and that the event intentionally carved out a place for international students.

“To have a night that really says, ‘This is for you and a space for you to share your experiences,’ I think says a lot about what Baylor’s trying to do for international students,” Gilliam said.