Culture / featured-column

Hunter’s Thanksgiving Event Brings Joy to Students

On November 26 Hunter students got to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with their friends in the West lobby.

“I only had an apple, a banana, and raisins,” said Touka Medjoubir, a freshman at Hunter. Instead of having these snacks from home to fuel her day, she enjoyed her halal options courtesy of the Undergraduate Student Government. The USG also had vegan and kosher options as well.

Hundreds of Hunter students attended the dinner, which had several food, drink, and dessert options.

This year’s Thanksgiving dinner had the greatest amount of attendees. The dinner lasted from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and the lines had 600 to 700 students to be exact, until at around 8 p.m., when the numbers then trickled.

Many students benefited from the event, as many don’t spend Thanksgiving with their families.

Nayeli Perez (right) enjoys her dinner with friends Emely Fresnares (center) and Melanie Rodriguez (left). 

“We’re not close,” Nayeli Perez, a freshman, said about her and her family. Instead, she enjoyed her Thanksgiving meal with her friends.

While the event was supposed to be open to everyone with a valid state I.D., Hunter College’s Public Safety unit informed USG President Kamalpreet Kaur last minute that due to safety concerns, only people regularly allowed into Hunter could attend. This just includes Hunter students and other CUNY students who have their CUNY I.D.s.

Senior Martin Schneider (front) and film major Jake Barr (behind) ate their Thanksgiving dinner with friends.

Jake Barr, a senior at Hunter, liked hearing this since he was concerned with Hunter’s struggling students.

“There are a lot of Hunter students that are on the verge of homelesness,” he said. Before he got his food he mentioned how, if Hunter didn’t host this event, he and his friends were, “gonna go home hungry.”

“I probably would have had to pay for food,” Barr explained.

According to the 2019 City University of New York #RealCollege survey, more than half of their survey respondents worried about running out of food or could not afford to eat balanced meals. Forty percent of respondents said that they cut the size of their meals or skipped meals for financial reasons, and 11% reported not eating for at least one whole day during the prior month because they didn’t have enough money.

The event was not cheap, said President Kaur. This year the USG spent $14,000 on the event, and it was particularly expensive due to the various food options (halal, kosher, vegan). The caterers came from the Department of Education Fund, Marty’s Burger, and Halal Guys. Hardik Bhaskar, a USG member who managed and supervised the event, said it took a month to plan this year’s Thanksgiving. A lot of the decorations were made by the USG to cut costs. The funds that go to Hunter’s biggest event of the year comes from the student activity fee that every Hunter student pays each semester.

Hunter College alumni, like Alfredo Loli, an accounting graduate, came to the event and enjoyed it with his friends as well.

“It was great. I come every single year with friends,” Loli said. “It makes me feel like I belong somewhere, that I belong here. It makes me feel a part of Hunter College.”

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