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Bethlehem, Pa., November 19, 2013—Like many families, the Moravian College community has a Thanksgiving dinner tradition – though it has taken different forms over the years. Nicole Loyd, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, learned as much discussing the topic this fall with Moravian alumni, Board of Trustees, as well as President Bryon Grigsby ’90.
In the 1970s, Loyd found out that Moravian students got all dressed up for dinner, with faculty and staff acting as servers. By the late-1980s, as President Grigsby recalled, Thanksgiving dinner was more of a formal event, where undergraduates made reservations, sans faculty and staff participation. Fast forward to more recent years, and while students received a great meal from Sodexo, Loyd said, “there weren’t any of those special extras, like the faculty and staff being involved.”
After conferring with students and student groups, Loyd and the Student Affairs Office – with participation from nearly 60 faculty and staff volunteers – will revive a Moravian tradition that dates back more than four decades. On Wednesday, Nov. 20, the College will offer students a special Thanksgiving dinner in both Clewell Dining Hall and the HUB Marketplace, with faculty and staff serving the fixings. Additionally, students are encouraged to dress up for the occasion.
“We are very excited to be bringing this tradition back,” said Loyd, recalling that at the Community Colloquium in August she expressed her interest in revitalizing past traditions as a way to connect with the College’s history. “We’ve talked with the students and got an idea of what would work, and they liked the idea of the faculty and staff serving dinner, and that people would get dressed up.”
According to Loyd, the students, collectively, did not want to incorporate reservations this year. Secondly, they expressed their desire to know which faculty and staff members will be serving when and where. As a result, Loyd compiled a serving schedule, which is located below. “Students very clearly stated that they were interested in knowing who is serving, and we are glad we could,” she said. Loyd acknowledged the interest from faculty and staff was overwhelming, which helped her complete a full roster for both locations.
Erica Yozell, associate professor of Spanish, jumped at the chance to serve dinner this year, volunteering to work 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. in the Marketplace. While she feels it is a great opportunity to come together as a community, Yozell was ultimately convinced by the students’ interest. “Having spoken with Nicole, and hearing how excited the students were about Thanksgiving Dinner, that was the main reason why I wanted to volunteer,” she said.
Fernando Cifuentes ’14 is one of those students thrilled to see the return of this Moravian tradition, which reminds him of Midnight Oasis, when the Student Affairs staff serves breakfast to students during finals week. This year’s Midnight Oasis is right around the corner, slated for Tuesday, Dec. 10.
“I think events like this are only going to connect the students, faculty and staff better, and will create a deeper relationship for all of us. I think it’s a win-win-win for everyone,” he explained. “We, as students, are looking to embrace the community that we already have, because that is what makes us unique. And we want to be involved in things that will strengthen our community.”
Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America’s sixth-oldest college. Moravian partners with students to build a strong foundation for their future. Visit the College’s website at www.moravian.edu.