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"Friendsgiving" dinners common on and off campus

By Megan Bowers; The Miami Student

It's 2 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 20 when Taryn Neubecker's sweet potato casserole is finally ready to come out of the oven.

As she reaches in to grab the casserole, the pan tips and a good fourth of it falls out onto the oven door.

She stares at the food heaped in a pile on the door for less than 30 seconds, then crams it back into the pan, determining the oven is clean enough in this time crunch.

On the other side of the kitchen, Taryn's three housemates work on their own contributions to the dinner.

"We each picked a couple dishes to make and then the guests are each bringing something as well," said Grace Vaillancourt. "We all picked the dishes that represent Thanksgiving to us."

The four juniors are hosting their first "Friendsgiving" dinner.

In just 17 hours, their small residence on South Poplar Street will be filled with over 24 guests and there is still so much to prepare.

"This has been a really busy week, but I think we just took the perspective that this was the light at the end of the tunnel," said Allison Kumnick.

As the name implies, Friendsgiving is just a Thanksgiving meal that you have with your friends - very popular for college students who either can't make it home or want to celebrate with their non-biological family.

"My family is not actually doing a real Thanksgiving this year. We are just going out to dinner," said Vaillancourt. "So this is my actual Thanksgiving."

The exact origin of Friendsgiving is unknown but most students get the idea from popular TV shows.

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"'Friends,' the TV show, is kind of our goal for life," said Kailey Eaton. "You want to have those people that you will always have around, and we get to live that."

However, this kind of event doesn't come without challenges.

"I think the hardest part was estimating how much food we needed," said Vaillancourt. "None of us have cooked for this many people before."

Underclassmen also try to take part in this new holiday by heading to the Thanksgiving meals in the dining halls.

Harris Dining Hall is buzzing with the sounds of eager students. The lines at the cash register are out to the door. Red and orange decorations adorn the walls and tables.

Hundreds of students stand in winding lines around the hall, waiting at whichever station piqued their interest.

"My friends and I went to Harris for Friendsgiving," said first-year Abigail Fergus. "It was nice to be able to celebrate such a great holiday with my new family without having to prepare anything ourselves."

Friendsgiving provides a way for students on campus to thank their friends and establish traditions that will hopefully continue for years to come.

"I'm thankful for the opportunity to host this because this is probably going to be one of the best memories of the whole year, maybe even of college," said Kumnick. "I'm just happy the friends I've made in college have the same idea of fun as me and are willing to put in this kind of work to have a good time."