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Residence halls celebrate Thanksgiving season

| Monday, November 21, 2016

Every year, dorms across campus host a variety of community events to celebrate Thanksgiving, and this year proved no different.

Flaherty Hall’s Project Pumpkin Pie was described by junior resident Kiera Bader as focusing on holiday’s spirit of gratitude spirit, sharing and giving back, within and beyond the dorms hosting them.

“It was Pangborn’s signature event and now it’s Flaherty’s, and it’s where we make pies for the Center for the Homeless to have at their Thanksgiving Day meal,” Bader said. “We typically make about 125 pies for the residents of the center and this year we also made cards for them saying ‘Happy Thanksgiving.’”

Bader said that while the event has traditionally been held in North Dining Hall, this year the pies were baked in the Center for Culinary Excellence.

“They gave us a tour there and we had the head chef there and a couple other chefs help us to measure out the ingredients and everything, and then we all worked together to bake the pies,” Bader said. “Once the pies are ready, they’re delivered over to the center to be used there, and they usually have enough to keep a bunch frozen, so they’re also able to use the same pies for Christmas, which is pretty cool — they’re kind of able to cover the whole holiday season.

“It was a really fun event — definitely my favorite that Pangborn does. It’s very community-based, and you can kind of come together in a fun way that you know is going to benefit others,” Bader said. 

Walsh Hall hosts the Thanksgiving Sustainability Dinner, which brings the hall together while promoting environmentally sustainable cooking practices.

“[The event is] basically us cooking for a majority of Walsh and what we do is we try to have the most environmentally-friendly, sustainable, cooking practices and ingredients,” Walsh sustainability commissioner Kaitlin Powers said. “We went to the farmer’s market and got everything locally sourced. ”

Powers estimates that around 20 Walsh residents assisted in making the dinner, which fed around 100 people last Thursday, and included green beans, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, turkey tetrazzini, cranberry sauce, cornbread, gravy and pies.

The event, Powers said, has been put on for at least three years.

“We have an outline from previous years that’s been perfected over time,” she said. “For example, the reason we do a turkey tetrazzini is because eating straight turkey is not as energy efficient. It lets us take the turkey and spread it further.”

Powers feels the event functions both as a way to build community and a way to spread the word about sustainability.

“I think it’s a great way to communicate our message, because everyone wants to go, and before we ate we explained to everyone what we did and why we did it,” she said. “Maybe it won’t make a huge impact for people right now, but it’s definitely important to buy local and do things of that sort, it’s a little thing we can do that attracts a lot of attention and allows us to get our point across. It’s also super fun and makes us feel like family.”

Another dorm-wide meal is made and enjoyed by Ryan Hall, for its annual Thanksgiving dinner — a tradition in Ryan since its founding in 2009.

“The entire hall is invited, with the caveat that you have to bring something in order to come,” sophomore and event commissioner Emma Morrison said. 

“It’s a whole hall effort, and we usually feed around 200 people,” she said. “It’s just for Ryan girls, and we usually invite our hall fellow and the staff that work here. It’s the whole Ryan family.”

Claire Kramer, a junior in Ryan, went into detail of the logistics of the event, which was held on Sunday night.

“We have to put up sign-up sheets for our kitchens,” Kramer said. “Our assistant rectors, our rector and our priest-in-residence open up their kitchens for us to use on Sunday so that everyone gets to cook. For people who don’t want to cook or if there aren’t enough spots to sign up to cook, they can set up or clean up.”

“It’s a really good community event to all be together as one group, and people come together best around food. People refer to it as the best day of the year — it’s wonderful,” Kramer said.

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About Andrew Cameron

Andrew is a senior from Orange County, California. He is an associate news editor at the Observer, and is majoring in Biological Sciences and English. While he has greatly enjoyed his time at Notre Dame, during the winter months he often wonders why he ever left the perennial warmth of Southern California.

Contact Andrew