QU faculty welcome students into their homes for Thanksgiving

Jacklyn Pellegrino, Copy Editor

Quinnipiac University faculty and staff will open their homes this Thanksgiving season to provide students with a festive meal and share their knowledge about the culture surrounding the holiday through the university’s revived Thanksgiving Host Program.

Students will have the opportunity to stay in the home of a faculty member on any day between Nov. 23-27, including Thanksgiving Day on Nov. 24. According to the Microsoft Forms application, students and faculty must apply by Nov. 10. The Department of Cultural and Global Engagement will match students with a faculty member beginning on Nov. 18, on a first come first serve basis.

The Thanksgiving Host Program has run in the past, but “was on pause” because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sarah Driscoll, director of international student services said.

The program is targeted toward international students, but any undergraduate or graduate student can participate. According to the Microsoft Form, faculty members are asked to provide transportation for international students who are participating.

Illustration by Shavonne Chin

Driscoll said the host program is a community-based program. 

“Some international students will be staying on campus during Thanksgiving break, so it gives them an opportunity to experience a Thanksgiving celebration,” Driscoll said.

In an email statement to the Chronicle, Driscoll wrote that international students make up 2.2% of the student population and there are currently 153 international students enrolled at Quinnipiac.

Driscoll said the Thanksgiving dinner is something that international students may have seen in movies or TV shows that they are excited to try.

“It’s an opportunity for them to do that as well as our faculty and staff that live locally,” Driscoll said. “It’s a chance for them to really engage with students outside of the classroom.”

Karla Natale, associate vice president of community partnerships, signed up to host a student to provide more context about what the Thanksgiving holiday is like. She said it will also be a great opportunity for her family.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity,” Natale said. “I’m glad that this program exists and I hope more people sign up for it.”

Natale signed up for Nov. 25, when she said her family and the student will be going to pick out her family’s Christmas tree, decorate it and have a Thanksgiving meal at her house.

“Instead of not having a place to go that week or that weekend, they’ll be welcomed into a warm home, with a lot of people that are excited to talk to them, and they’ll benefit by learning a little bit more about how we handle the tradition and more about a culture other than where they came from, where they originate from,” Natale said.

Ann Marie Godbout, administrative assistant to the dean of the School of Nursing, signed up to host on Thanksgiving Day this year, but said she has signed up in the past, but wasn’t able to participate because there weren’t enough interested students.

Godbout said she comes from a big family, but they are now spread throughout the country so “the more the merrier.”

“Everyone (in Godbout’s family) are wonderful people, and everyone is interesting and fun to talk to, and everyone is interested, so I think there will be really great conversation, and my daughter is also a Quinnipiac student so they can make a new friend as well,” Godbout said.

Khushi Agnish, a senior behavioral neuroscience major and international student from India, has taken part in various Thanksgiving programs run by DCGE over the past three years. This year she signed up for the Thanksgiving Host Program.

Agnish said during her freshman year in 2019 there was not much going on, her sophomore year was during the COVID lockdown, but her junior year she said Driscoll and her team organized several events and she went to dinner at President Judy Olian’s house.

“I think it’s a really great opportunity, (to) maybe meet some more faculty members, and it just helps you feel at home sometimes, when everyone’s gone home and you’re just sitting like what do I do next,” Agnish said.

Agnish said she has never been toThanksgiving dinner and that she wants to get to know another faculty member better.

“For professors hosting an American Thanksgiving it’ll be like an experience of actually how Thanksgiving is, probably the other students who might attend with me get to know them better as well,” Agnish said.