Most UCSB students, faculty and staff will be heading home this week for the Thanksgiving holiday, but for some, home is going to be the address they give the Woodstock’s Pizza delivery guy.
Many students will remain in Santa Barbara over the holiday because of work schedules, various school commitments or because home is simply too far away. However, some student groups have been working to get UCSB and I.V. into the holiday spirit ahead of time, organizing pre-Thanksgiving dinners for students and local I.V. families, as well as alternative events for those who do not celebrate the American holiday.
Residential Life Assistant Student Leadership Coordinator Andrew Wells said students are allowed to stay in the residence halls over Thanksgiving weekend if they pay $132, but relatively few on-campus residents usually stick around during the holiday.
A few resident assistants (RAs) – including Manzanita Village RA Rami Hanna – have volunteered to stay on duty through the weekend to watch over the sparsely populated residence halls.
“There’ll maybe be 20 to 30 students staying [on campus],” Hanna said. “Most of my friends [in I.V.] said they’d be staying, except for maybe on Thursday, but a lot of them know that next week is Dead Week anyway, so they’ll get their shit done early when no one’s around.”
Among those staying in the area because of their jobs, Samantha Romo, manager of Blenders in the Grass on Pardall Road and a third-year history major, said the smoothie joint is not expecting much business over the holiday weekend, but its employees are scheduled to work nonetheless.
“It’s going to be dead,” Romo said. “I think we only made about $140 per day last year.”
Erin McCartney, Education Abroad Program Reciprocity Coordinator, said the American Thanksgiving holiday is quite foreign to many of the more than 180 international students studying at UCSB, but alternative options available to these students include attending this weekend’s International Students Association’s trip to Yosemite.
However, Brazil native Bruno de Barros Guimares, a fourth-year business economics and electrical engineering double major, said he is looking forward to experiencing a traditional Thanksgiving celebration.
“As I don’t have Thanksgiving in Brazil, I thought this would be a good opportunity to get to have a very American Thanksgiving,” Guimares said. “My cousin lives with an American family in Chicago, so it will also be a good opportunity to get to know the city. My cousin says it is very cold.”
Last Thursday, the women of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority hosted their eighth annual Thanksgiving dinner for students in the Graduate Student Association Lounge, during which it held a held a toy drive for children in the local area, as well as those affected by recent hurricanes in the Gulf Coast region.
Likewise, student groups Hermanos Unidos and La Escuelita combined efforts Monday night to host their fifth annual Thanksgiving dinner for the families of I.V. at UCSB Hillel.
“We know a lot of the families are underprivileged economically and we want to provide them with a fun place to get a good Thanksgiving meal,” said Alejandra Lopez, co-chair of La Escuelita. “There’s a gap between the families in I.V. and UCSB students, and this is a way we can interact so that gap can be bridged.”