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Monday, Jul 13, 2020

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International students celebrate Thanksgiving at Atrium Cafe


On Tuesday, Nov. 25, a steady stream of students at Atrium Cafe in Grover Center experienced a taste of a traditional Thanksgiving meal, complete with turkey, stuffing, gravy, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, carrots and dessert, all prepared and served buffet style by faculty, staff, and students.

The event was designed to provide international students and their families from Ohio University's College of Health Sciences and Professions an opportunity to experience a traditional Thanksgiving meal while away from home.

“It’s a meal here at Ohio University that students may not get to otherwise experience, so it allows them to experience the holidays instead of just going home in Athens. It’s such an important holiday which international students don’t celebrate, so this lets them experience Thanksgiving,” said Francis McFadden, assistant professor of food and nutrition sciences and manager of CHSP’s Atrium Café.

For Hadiza Amadou and her four-year-old daughter, it was their first time experiencing a Thanksgiving lunch at Atrium Cafe and was a great way to understand American culture.

“I’m originally from West Africa,” Amadou said. “I’m schooling in international development studies and this lunch is a good thing. For us, Thanksgiving is not in our culture, but experiencing it here, I get to know other people’s culture.”

Amadou’s daughter, Sarah Afreen, said she learned about Thanksgiving at preschool earlier in the day. “We learned about Thanksgiving in Circle Time. We got to sit in a circle and listen to what the teacher said about it,” she said before dipping her finger into a scoop of whipped topping on top of her slice of pumpkin pie.

This is the third year faculty and staff from the College of Health Sciences and Professions have volunteered to prepare and serve a Thanksgiving meal for international students.

Sarah Afreen, 4, dips her finger into a scoop of whipped topping on top of her slice of pumpkin pie. Afreen enjoyed the Thanksgiving meal alongside her mother, Hadiza Amadou.

(Gretchen Gregory/Ohio University)

Sarah Afreen, 4, dips her finger into a scoop of whipped topping on top of her slice of pumpkin pie. 

Afreen enjoyed her Thanksgiving meal alongside her mother, Hadiza Amadou.

(Gretchen Gregory/Ohio University)

Afreen enjoys a Thanksgiving meal with her mother, Hadiza Amadou.

International students Tamara Jimah (left) and Keikotlhae Koodibetse enjoy a complimentary Thanksgiving lunch at the Atrium Cafe in Grover Center on Tuesday, Nov. 25.

(Ben Siegel/Ohio University)

International students Tamara Jimah (left) and Keikotlhae Koodibetse enjoy the complimentary Thanksgiving lunch at the Atrium Cafe.

Kazi Priyanka Ailmi takes a picture of a Thanksgiving turkey prepared for international students enrolled in the College of Health Sciences and Professions.

(Ben Siegel/Ohio University)

Kazi Priyanka Silmi takes a picture of a Thanksgiving turkey prepared for international students enrolled in the College of Health Sciences and Professions.

Volunteers who prepared and served the Thanksgiving meal included faculty, staff and students.

(Courtesy of College of Health Sciences and Professions)

Volunteers who prepared and served the Thanksgiving meal included faculty and staff as well as students of Francis McFadden's (second from right) class, pictured here. McFadden is an assistant professor of food and nutrition sciences and manager of the Atrium Café.