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Tasting American tradition

Nov. 12, 2004

By JOSH HORTON, staff writer

In the traditional Thanksgiving story, two cultures learn about each other over a meal. In the same way, faculty, staff and international students sat down to learn about one another at a Thanksgiving dinner Thursday.

Baylor Round Table, an organization for female faculty and wives of faculty, sponsored the dinner. About 240 faculty, staff and students attended. The event was the first experience with Thanksgiving for some students.

Robert Shaw | Lariat staff
Lei Wang, a graduate student from China, samples pecan pie at a Thanksgiving dinner hosted for international students Thursday.
Pearl Jumo, a master's student in economics from Zimbabwe, said she has been living in the United States since August.

"I know about Thanksgiving from other people, but it's not a tradition for me," she said.

Julie Pickle, event coordinator, said she thinks the dinner helps students better understand American culture.

"It helps us to show international students the importance of the Thanksgiving holiday," Pickle said.

Several of the students at the dinner had lived in the United States for several years already, and had been to the event before.Krishna Adavi, a master's student in computer science from India, said he has had several Thanksgiving experiences since living in the United States.

"I've been to a professor's house for Thanksgiving lunch, and they explained what it is," he said.

Paulette Edwards, Round Table publicity coordinator, said the dinner helps students and professors learn about each other outside the classroom.

"It's a way of bringing different cultures together and learning about native traditions," Edwards said.

Baylor Round Table began its relationship with international students in 1957 when it invited international students, teachers and their families to what had been an all-faculty dinner. In 1961, the dinner became a Thanksgiving-style meal, and in 1984 Round Table coordinated the dinner with the Baylor Family Thanksgiving Worship Service. In 2003, the organization planned the dinner to be independent of the worship service. The guest list for the dinner grew from 66 in 1957 to 421 in 2002.