By Kyshonna Bethel
Thanksgiving break is a period many college students excitingly anticipate. Coming down to the homestretch of the fall term, most students are worn-out and many homesick. For these reasons, this week long pause in the semester before final exams is just the breather needed to finish off the term strong.
Due to its length, a number of students are afforded the opportunity to go home and spend time with their families. Some students, because of proximity, accompany friends to their homes and families. However, there is still a significant amount of students that have no other option but to stay on campus because they either do not have the funds or convenience to travel.
While some people just do not have the alternative to leave campus, others feel that it is illogical to invest in leaving when the succeeding holiday break is just two weeks after. Moreover, some students just feel that going home would be a distraction from completing and preparing for final projects, and studying for final exams. Nonetheless, those that decide to remain on campus are ensured a week filled of interesting activities.
According to Paige Ramsey-Hamacher, the Executive Director for Student Success, the university creates a four-day schedule for students that remain on campus during Thanksgiving break.
The schedule begins on that Monday with a trip to Walmart.
“We make sure that they have something to eat in their rooms. They are able to go and get food and items they might need for their room so that they have stuff for cooking and anything else because the dining hall is also closed during that timeframe,” stated Ramsey-Hamacher.
On Tuesday, there is a trip to The Shops at Wiregrass and Wednesday, there is a free trip to Busch Gardens. Paige explained that the tickets for the Busch Gardens trip could be claimed on saintleotickets.com. She accompanies the students on the trip and exclaimed that although the tickets are often sold out, the one bus ordered for the trip is seldom full.
“I would love to have that bus be filled though, to make sure that everyone takes advantage of that. I even tell students that if they are not here or are local, they can still come,” said Ramsey-Hamacher.
The Multicultural and International Services Office (MISO), along with Student Activities, organizes and executes the events Monday through Wednesday. These activities allow students to have the option of getting out of their dorms and interacting with others instead of being alone all week by themselves.
The week of events ends Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. Paige clarified that the Social Work Club in partnership with the Benedictine Sisters and Saint Anthony’s Parish prepare a full, traditional Thanksgiving dinner for the students.
“The Benedictine Sisters do all the cooking and then the Social Work Club and University Ministry works closely together with them to be able to help facilitate that for the students,” said Ramsey-Hamacher.
They organize for a bus to come and collect those who wish to partake and transport them to Saint Anthony’s Parish. Also, in special circumstances, such as someone who is ill or unable to leave campus, they would deliver the food for them.
This complete list of events is located all-around campus on the life-size calendars of events and an email is also sent to students concerning the specifics of the activities and Thanksgiving dinner.
Whether it be to go home or with a friend to their house, leaving campus for the week is just not possible for everyone. However, the faculty and organizations here at Saint Leo do an extremely impressive job at making the students feel at home throughout the holiday. This is just another way that our university caters to the whole student outside of their academic needs. Therefore, students, especially freshman and those who are not from this country, have no need to worry because enjoyable and exciting options exist for students who remain on campus during Thanksgiving break.