By Jonah Kramer | Staff Writer
The Baylor community came together for its annual All-University Thanksgiving celebration from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday on Fountain Mall.
Irvine, Calif., senior Karrisa Maeda and Rineyville, Ky., senior Jacob Maddox — co-chairs of Student Foundation’s campus promotions committee — represented Student Foundation as one of many campus groups uniting to make the event possible.
Maddox said Baylor Dining prepared food for a projected 9,000 students, faculty, staff and families. The meal featured traditional Thanksgiving staples, including turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing and pumpkin pie.
“One of the big purposes [of the event] is to have a community-style, family-style meal,” Maddox said.
In addition to receiving a meal, Baylor students were given the opportunity to donate a meal via dining hall guest swipes.
Maeda said the “Get a Meal, Give a Meal” campaign was implemented to “help fight food insecurity and hunger on campus.” The donated swipes support Baylor’s on-campus food pantry, The Store.
Lauren da Silva, director of The Store, said the meal swipe donation campaign is going to make an impact on students who really need it.
“At the moment, it is estimated that about 2,000 students on campus do not have enough resources to eat three meals a day and to eat nutritious food,” da Silva said. “The swipes that you guys are donating are going to be donated to the students who need them most.”
Maddox said the “Give a Meal, Get a Meal” campaign fits perfectly with “the sense of thankfulness” that defines All-University Thanksgiving.
The theme of thankfulness included banners on both sides of Fountain Mall — on which students could write what they are most thankful for — as well as a prayer by student body president Hunter Walker.
“Dear heavenly Father, we give thanks to you, for you are good,” Walker said. “In this season of Thanksgiving, I ask that you would soften our hearts to all the many blessings you have bestowed upon us.”
Maddox said the event served a special purpose for both students who won’t be able to go home for Thanksgiving and international students who may not be familiar with the tradition.
First-year graduate student Yashwant Soni said he is from India and attended the Thanksgiving celebration to learn about the meaning behind the holiday.
“We wanted to see what kind of culture it is,” Soni said.
Maeda said she hopes the main takeaway from the event was “a reminder that all of Baylor is such a big family, and there is so much to be thankful for.”