Staying on campus for Thanksgiving? You’re not alone


(Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times TNS)

A Thanksgiving meal. Northwestern’s QuestBridge chapter offers a Thanksgiving dinner for students who stay on campus over the break.

Atul Jalan, Reporter

AAA projects that more than 54 million Americans will travel this year for Thanksgiving, the highest volume of travelers since 2005. Orbitz, a travel metasearch engine, ranked the day before Thanksgiving as the busiest travel day of the year.

For many Northwestern students, that means hours spent in an airport security line followed by a day of eating thousands of calories in a single meal. But some students will enjoy the meal without having to wait in the line.

One of those students is Weinberg sophomore Ravi Tandon, who said he chose not to go home due to the high costs and short break.

“(My friends and I are) planning on going to Chicago pretty much every day and just having a good time here,” Tandon said. “It gives me a chance to enjoy Evanston, Chicago and my friends here without the stress of school.”

Students who stay will still be able to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Every year, Northwestern’s QuestBridge chapter — a nonprofit that works to provide opportunities for low-income youth — organizes an event called “Questgiving,” and provides a Thanksgiving dinner for all the students who don’t go home.

Last year, Tandon said about 50 students attended the event. The dinner includes turkey, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, pies and a host of other traditional Thanksgiving fare. Tandon, a member of QuestBridge, said he thinks that it’s better than any food he’d get at home. The main reason he said he goes, though, is to spend time with other students.

Students who plan to stay on campus said they will also participate in Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The two events routinely result in record sales for American companies. Medill freshman Zinya Salfiti said she’s excited not to be going home because she’ll finally be able to take advantage of discounts that aren’t available in Jordan, her home country.

“The U.S. is famous for all the deals that are offered on Black Friday,” Salfiti said. “All my friends and I are going to go on a huge shopping spree. It’ll be the first time that I get to participate so I’m excited for that.”

Salfiti said the transition to college has been difficult and arduous. The quick pace of the quarter system makes it feel as if there’s no end to assignments and studying, she said, and added that Thanksgiving break will be the first time she can truly relax.

Graduate student Zenny Wu is in a similar situation. Wu said he has been so busy he’s been unable to leave Evanston since the beginning of Fall Quarter. He added that he plans to finally visit Chicago over the coming break with his friend who is visiting from New York City.

“I’m really excited to see my friend. I haven’t seen him in over two years,” Wu said. “Hopefully … we’ll road trip to nearby places, maybe visit the city (or) see the Willis Tower.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @jalan_atul