A Dunster Dining Hall staff member carves a turkey for the House's dining options on Thanksgiving Day.
For the hundreds of undergraduates who stayed on campus this Thanksgiving, the break offered an opportunity to gorge on four different flavors of pie, catch up on school work, and reflect on what matters most.
Harvard community members who made their way to the dining hall in Dunster House between 11:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Thursday were greeted by a classic New England feast of roast turkey, cider-glazed ham, and sweet potato casserole. Nearly 700 students and faculty came out for the dinner, according to Dunster House Master Roger B. Porter.
One such patron, Clara Q. Chen ’16, admitted after dinner that she may have had too much to eat. "The sweet potato soufflé is really, really good,” she said.
Another attendee, Curtis L. Lahaie ’15, said that the “homey” cloths lining the dining hall tables made the dinner feel more intimate.
Other diners praised Harvard University Dining Services workers for facilitating the feast.
“Thanksgiving dinner at Dunster House was a warm and wonderful event in large part because of our outstanding dining hall managers and staff,” Porter wrote in an email to The Crimson. “We are grateful for their excellent service and cheerful smiles that brighten our day.”
David T. Zhang ’15 echoed Porter’s sentiment, saying, “The meal is good itself, but besides that I’m thankful that there are staff here that cook for all of us.”
Other undergraduates, facing looming deadlines for end-of-semester projects, papers, and finals, said that they were taking full advantage of the quiet study environment on Harvard’s temporarily tranquil campus.
Peter A. Boyce II ’13 said that he was using the “really quiet and peaceful” break to focus on his academic work.
And while some students on campus expressed regret that they were unable to spend the holiday with their families, many said that they were able to give thanks in other ways.
Min Jin Lee ’15, an international student who said that distance precluded her from going home to South Korea, said on Thursday that she planned to spend Thanksgiving dinner with her host family near campus.
Likewise, Natalie Maria ’16, who said she did not return home to Florida because plane tickets were too expensive, used the break to send appreciative emails to her high school teachers.
Maria, who said she was looking forward to seeing her family in several weeks over winter break, said that spending Thanksgiving away from home was far from dreary.
“Maybe if this was a movie and someone was walking around with a camera constantly reminding me that I’m not with a family, [I would] be sad,” Maria said. “But real life is not that dramatic.”
And with Dunster being the only campus dining hall to stay open for all meals during the break, Maria joked she had another thing to be thankful for–her laptop.
“I am currently sitting outside Dunster for whole stretches of the day just waiting for meals so I don’t have to walk [back to my dorm],” Maria said. “I’m thankful for my laptop which allows me to do this.”
For his part, Boyce said that while he wished he could have spent the break with his family, he found solace in self-reflection.
“Spending time apart really makes us appreciate the time we can come together for the holidays,” Boyce said. “You need a reminder of how valuable time with family is and how special that is.”