International students, faculty and staff gathered Tuesday for a special Thanksgiving dinner with President Book.
On Tuesday, Elon’s international students gathered for the special Thanksgiving dinner hosted by the president’s office. The dinner started years ago as an event hosted by Elon Local Friends, a group of community members who support Elon’s international students, but has grown into an annual tradition celebrated by many international students and supporters. of Elon, both internally and externally.
“Thank you to the international community for being here tonight, taking this space and creating community. I know it’s a commitment right now, especially at this time of the semester…but it’s important that we take this time and this space to come together,” said Mark Kurt, associate dean of global education, over Thanksgiving dinner.
Kurt shared an excerpt from the land acknowledgment by the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation stating that the land on which Elon University sits was traditionally part of the territory of the Saponi people in the Piedmont of what is now the State of North Carolina.
“Like many countries, we have a difficult past and I want to focus tonight on the thanksgiving that is underway. But also to recognize that we cannot undo history, but we can certainly do something. thing for the future,” said Book President Connie Ledoux. “And that’s what makes an evening like this so beautiful.”
“So good to have the opportunity to celebrate an American tradition with all of you tonight – Thanksgiving. One of the things I’m proud of is our commitment to the cultural exchange that is history. of Elon for a long time,” added Chairman Book. “I hope you will all share at your tables tonight the traditions of your country as well.”
For Johanna Lauff 24, Thanksgiving dinner was a way to decompress with familiar faces as the end of the semester neared.
“As everything gets a little more stressful towards the end of the semester, I’m really grateful for an event like this,” Lauff said.
With live music and traditional Thanksgiving treats, the dinner created a warm environment for Elon’s international community to connect while learning about a custom unfamiliar to them.
“I think it’s great to feel included and as an international student it’s great to have that American experience. It’s just a good time to sit with friends and then get to know new people and enjoy each other’s company,” said Maria Ahm ’23.