The University of Texas at Arlington’s (UTA) Thanksgiving tradition is a celebration of gratitude and communal festivity, bringing together over a thousand students, faculty, and staff members. This annual campus-wide Thanksgiving feast is not merely a culinary affair but a heartfelt expression of appreciation among the Mavericks community.
UTA THANKSGIVING TRADITION
Linda Arredondo, a senior teaching major, and her daughter Vanessa, a freshman computer engineering major, exemplify the spirit of thankfulness. Amidst the bountiful feast, they shared expressions of gratitude not only for the educational opportunities UTA has bestowed upon them but also for the doors it continues to open for their future endeavors. Linda Arredondo conveyed, “I’m grateful for UTA because it has opened a lot of doors for me, and I know it will open a lot of doors for my daughter too.” The sentiment of gratitude extended beyond familial bonds as they shared the meal with both familiar faces and new acquaintances.
Vanessa Arredondo added a unique perspective, stating, “Not only am I here with my mom, but her friends and a new friend we made are waiting in line.” This emphasis on forming new connections during the Thanksgiving gathering highlights the sense of community that permeates the UTA campus.
The UTA Thanksgiving tradition is not confined to domestic students. The Office of International Education, known for its annual potluck for foreign and study abroad students, has transformed this into the UTA Thanksgiving dinner since 2017. This inclusive celebration has become a platform for around 6,000 international students from over 100 countries to experience and partake in the American Thanksgiving tradition.
Fariza Tanvir, a Bangladeshi-born student assistant in the Office of International Education’s global engagement department, expressed her gratitude for the community she found at UTA. “Having the UTA community and something like this is nice because we can’t purchase a plane ticket home,” Tanvir remarked, underscoring the importance of the university community, especially for international students away from their homes.
The Thanksgiving feast featured an elaborate spread, encompassing a variety of side dishes and desserts, alongside traditional favorites such as turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. Senior Jonathan Wiening expressed his excitement, declaring, “I really like Thanksgiving, and I’m really excited for this meal and pumpkin pie.”
Beyond the culinary delights, the Thanksgiving celebration at UTA is a time for reflection and acknowledgment. First-year housemates Dylan Frazier and Arnold Hernandez, planning to share a meal before the Christmas break, voiced their gratitude for the friendships cultivated at UTA. Hernandez extended his appreciation to his parents and sister for their unwavering encouragement in pursuing higher education.
Vice President of Student Affairs Lowell Davis reflected on his first Thanksgiving meal at UTA as an enormous success. In expressing gratitude, Davis acknowledged the faculty and staff for their tireless efforts in supporting students, emphasizing the collective spirit that defines the UTA community. “So many people have come to wish all of our students well today, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their ongoing support,” Davis remarked, encapsulating the essence of Thanksgiving at the University of Texas at Arlington.