Celebrating Thanksgiving, Harvard-Style

Despite dinner in Dunster, students find school holiday is no substitute for home

From kosher turkeys in the Mather kitchen to outdoor Thanksgiving picnics, students who chose not to travel home this weekend found creative alternatives in frigid Cambridge.

“Ten of us had a fire going,” said Julie I. Hanover ’05. “It was great because I felt that we were able to be a really close group even though we don’t usually have a chance to get together during the semester.”

Christine B. Peterson ’05, who hails from Houston, said staying at Harvard gave her time to relax.

“It was nice to be here, since I don’t live very close,” she said.

Abbe Finberg ’05 celebrated Thanksgiving with friends in Mather House.


“[A friend] cooked a kosher turkey in Mather’s kitchen, which was really nice,” said Finberg, although she said she is pleased with Harvard University Dining Services’ kosher options.

Hundreds of students decided to enjoy Thanksgiving at Dunster House, cramming into the dining hall for servings of turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie.

“I really appreciated that Dunster used the leftovers later that night and the next day, because the food was really good and it helped extend the feeling of Thanksgiving throughout the week,” Hanover said.

But for some, eating at Harvard on Thanksgiving proved to be time-consuming and confusing.

“It really sucked that they completely stopped shuttle service from the Quad and kept only a River House open,” said Qian Zhang ’04. “Since Harvard charges so much for tuition, I think they should have given us taxi passes to get to and from our meals.”

“I didn’t even know what dining hall was open,” said Andrew A. Apostolides ’04. “When I looked up the menu, it said they would be serving chicken finger beaks or something disgusting.” He ended up having a Thanksgiving picnic outdoors.

Some found the campus to be too quiet.

Winthrop House security guard Enoch Kyerematen, who worked Thanksgiving evening, said Harvard felt like a cemetery.

“No one was getting locked out, no one picked up toilet paper...I missed my students,” Kyerematen said.

Apostolides, who is from Greece, agreed.

“Every time I came back [to my dorm], it was empty, reminding me that everyone else was home celebrating. It’s a tragedy that international students have to go through every year.”