So you’re stuck on campus during the three- to five-day Thanksgiving break. What to do? You could clean your dorm room or serve Thanksgiving dinner to international students. Or you could give back to your community by volunteering your time
— you’ll get that warm fuzzy feeling of helping someone less fortunate and gain a better perspective on your fellow man.
Volunteer to serve Thanksgiving dinner. This can be on campus or in your community. Many colleges host a Thanksgiving dinner for students who stay on campus during the holiday. Volunteer to serve food or clean up afterwards. Or the local church or community center in your town might serve dinner. See if you can volunteer there.
Florida International University recruits student volunteers for its Thanksgiving Bash hosted by the Li’l Abner Foundation in Sweetwater. “Each year, this event provides food and fun to the citizens of Sweetwater. Your duties might include setting up tables and chairs, checking in residents at the entrance, distributing lunch and refreshments, entertaining guests, manning information table, or breaking down the event.”
Participate in disaster relief. Unfortunately there is no shortage of natural disasters. See if you can gather donations for relief aid for victims of the Philippine typhoon, Pakistan earthquake or U.S. Midwest floods. Another way to help is to donate blood.
Join a service project. Norwich University in Vermont sponsors “Alternative Breaks.” “During Thanksgiving and Spring Break weeks when dorms close and students have some free time, we offer opportunities to participate in service projects and enjoy a bit of sight seeing and team building. Alternative Thanksgiving Break is a ‘Vermont sampler’ trip during which participants work with Vermont nonprofits such as the Vermont Food Bank, the Veterans’ Place, Montpelier Parks and Recreation, and Habitat for Humanity. The program cost is $100 and includes food, transportation and expenses.”
Go off campus to volunteer. This time of year that’s so heavily dominated by family gatherings makes those without a family feel lonely. Volunteer at a hospital, homeless shelter, senior center, women’s or children’s shelter, church organization or food pantry. Deliver food baskets for the holiday. Volunteering helps you build your resume, make contacts, qualify for scholarships, and expand your learning experience beyond the classroom.
Check out on-campus events. Amherst College in Massachusetts hosts specific events during Thanksgiving break, in an effort to build community on campus. Events include movie and popcorn night, yoga sessions, cooking classes, chair massage, planetarium show, karaoke night, and outdoor campfire with s’mores. Sounds like fun!
Clean up and maintenance on campus. See if your school has a fall cleanup program to rake leaves, clean up trash, paint or do minor construction work. Sure, the maintenance department and greens keepers do this, but sometimes schools let students volunteer to build college pride in their campus. Your academic department might also have projects for you to do, such as making sets for the theater or maintaining experiments in the science labs.
“Meet new people. Chances are that there are not that many people on campus over Thanksgiving break. So try talking to someone new you see in the dining hall or even in your residence hall,” suggests Kelci Lynn Lucier in “10 Ways to Spend Thanksgiving on Campus,” posted in CollegeLife.
Clean your dorm room. OK, it’s not exciting work, but it’s productive. Throw out the month-old pizza boxes, do your laundry, vacuum, clean out the fridge and even wash the windows. A clean living space is conducive to better studying. If you have old clothes you don’t want any more, donate them to a church or Goodwill.
Sleep. Ahh, sleep. It’s extra quiet, there are no classes and you likely have your dorm room all to yourself. Other ways of completely wasting your time, but enjoying every minute of it: play video games, read a book for pleasure or watch movies or whole seasons of TV shows.
What do you plan to do over the Thanksgiving holiday?