As we enter Thanksgiving week, I’ve been thinking a lot about college kids and Thanksgiving.  I suspect its because my oldest son is a senior in high school, so this will be our last “normal” Thanksgiving as a family.  Depending on where he ends up at school next year, its quite possible he won’t have Thanksgiving with us in 2020.

I have essentially no recollection about Thanksgiving breaks when I was at Williams.  For my freshman and sophomore years, my parents lived in the Washington DC area, so I suspect I went home for Thanksgiving, but I really can’t remember it one way or the other.  Moreover, for my freshman year, I didn’t have a car at Williams at Thanksgiving, so I don’t know how I would have gone home.  For my junior and senior years, my parents were living in Belgium, so I’m sure I didn’t go there for the short break.  But I have no memory of what I did.  I doubt I stayed on campus (I certainly don’t remember having done so).  Perhaps I visited relatives in Holyoke,MA? Or went home with a friend who lived (relatively) close to Williamstown?  I find it strange that I really can’t remember, because Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.

In any event, Williams has plenty of “programming” for the Thanksgiving break.  Students are free to stay in their own rooms during the break (though they have to notify the College that they will be there an use a door tag to show that they are around).  I think this obviously makes sense.  I imagine that there must be large numbers of students who can’t or don’t “go home” for the relatively short Thanksgiving break.  Aside from the all of the international students (probably 150-200 total), Californians make up the third largest group on campus (after New York and Massachusetts).  While its possible to go to California (or overseas) for a 5 day break, its not very practical.  Some of these students will go home with their friends, but some (many) will stay on campus.

I imagine it might be an interesting experience to be at Williams when it is (relatively) empty of students.

The College also takes care of feeding those on campus during the break, but you’re out of luck if you want breakfast.  The only dining hall open is at Mission Park, and they serve brunch from 11:30 to 1:00 every day and dinner from 5:00 to 6:30, except Thanksgiving Day itself, when the only meal served is Thanksgiving dinner from 11:00-1:30 (presumably so that dining hall employees can have Thanksgiving with their families), and students are encouraged to take out food to eat later.  This meal schedule seems to me to pretty reasonable.  Does anyone disagree?

The Dean’s Office offers to “coordinat[e] for local hosts & students interested in sharing the holiday meal together in local homes.”  I wonder how many students take them up on this.  Apparently the Davis Center also offers “a holiday meal” on Thanksgiving, but I can’t find out any more information about that right now.  I think its a little odd that the Davis Center event is not more widely publicized, but I suspect that it may be geared specifically towards students identifying with some of the affinity groups on campus, and may be advertised in a less general way for that purpose.

The other interesting thing I saw was that the College offers “a FREE Black Friday shopping trip via a 56-passenger bus to Albany.”  I would love to know how many students take advantage of that!

Best wishes for a safe and peaceful Thanksgiving to all!

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