Buford Center spreading diversity this Thanksgiving

Annual Thanksgiving luncheon provides more than a meal 

By Kelsey Nevius 

Students who might not be able to head home for the holidays can still enjoy a hearty meal for Thanksgiving this year. The University of Findlay’s Buford Center for Diversity and Service is hosting an Intercultural Thanksgiving Luncheon on Tuesday, Nov. 22 from 12 to 1 p.m. in the AMU multipurpose room. 

The luncheon has been an annual tradition since 2003 and originally started out as a way to inform international students about American culture and traditions, according to Eileen Rucki, program coordinator for the Buford Center. 

“Invitations have been extended to all international students and students identified as not being able to travel to the home of family or friends for the holiday, the generous contributors from Town and Campus, and all University administration, faculty, and staff,” said Rucki. “We expect to have 225+ people join us in response to our invitation.” 

Rucki states that this will be a true Thanksgiving feast, featuring all of the Thanksgiving favorites like turkey, ham, stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, corn, and beans. As well as the entrée choices, Rucki stated that there will also be bread courtesy of the UF Town and Campus Group and a variety of desserts provided by faculty and staff members. 

And the food is only half of the excitement of this event, as the draw of community and conversation also plays a big role in the turnout. 

“The Intercultural Thanksgiving Luncheon provides an excellent opportunity for our institutional community to come together to share food and fellowship,” said Christopher Sippel, assistant dean of international, intercultural, and service engagement. “It sets up an opportunity to dialogue with existing and new friends in our educational community and to share the various ways in which we are thankful.” 

From the start of the Thanksgiving Luncheon to its finish, it truly is an event filled with teamwork, fellowship, and community. As Rucki states, many people come together to make this event possible, from the staff at the Buford Center to its donors and volunteers. While the event takes a lot of coordination and planning, the benefit to the UF community is meaningful interaction and engagement, said Rucki. 

“Thanksgiving, a uniquely American holiday, is first and foremost a celebration of gratitude,” said Rucki. “It is in that spirit of gratitude that we host this event to provide individuals with an opportunity to sit with others to share and discuss cultural traditions, to learn from one another, and develop an appreciation for similarities, differences and the circumstances that brought us together as part of this campus community.” 

Events like this happen throughout the school year to promote a community and environment that embraces and celebrates differences, says Rucki, and the Buford Center strives to continue to create opportunities for community and student involvement. 

“Our efforts to provide international experiences, intercultural engagement, and service opportunities for our campus and community speak to the recognition that engaging diversity and promoting unity in diversity makes all of us smarter, stronger, and better citizens of an increasingly interconnected global society,” said Rucki.

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