Thanksgiving dining services may expand

Students staying in New Haven over Thanksgiving break may have residential college dining options available during their stay.

The Yale College Council and the International Student Organization have collaborated this fall to urge Yale Dining to keep one dining hall open during the break. Residential Dining Director Regenia Phillips said Yale Dining is still in the process of analyzing finances to find a feasible solution, though YCC Secretary Matt Williams ’13, who chairs YCC’s dining committee, said he expects Yale Dining to offer two meals per day Monday through Wednesday in one dining hall over the week-long fall recess. Williams and international students interviewed said the new options would particularly benefit students who live far from campus.

“Especially [during] Thanksgiving, [when] fewer students will return home because Christmas break is so soon, it’s a great way to help these students out,” Williams said.

The YCC began a similar initiative last year when Yale Dining opened one dining hall for dinner three days before the end of spring break, Williams said, but Yale Dining has never offered extra meals in residential colleges over Thanksgiving. Because this program was popular over spring break, he added, the YCC wanted to expand the initiative to a school recess when more students stay in New Haven.

The YCC hopes the dining hall meals will complement those already provided by the Office for International Students and Scholars — two separate dinners catered by New Haven eateries — and the Thanksgiving celebrations hosted by residential college masters, Williams said. He added that if the dining hall meals are popular this year, he hopes this policy could continue during future school recesses, including winter and spring breaks.

Director of the OISS Ann Kuhlman said between 140 and 150 students typically attend the OISS-hosted dinners.

Sikander Khan ’13, ISO president and a student from Pakistan who will be staying in New Haven for the majority of Thanksgiving break, said a dining hall would provide a setting for students to spend time together and combat the loneliness associated with long breaks.

“We’re going to try to use it as an extension and a gathering opportunity,” he said.

He added that the dining hall serves as a low-cost meal option relative to restaurants in New Haven.

Carl Sandberg ’14, a student from Sweden who attended an OISS dinner last year, said he thinks offering meals at a dining hall would attract many students, given the popularity of the OISS dinners. Though the OISS meals do not exclude students who live in the United States, Sandberg said, they are advertised mostly toward international students. He said non-international students staying on campus might feel more comfortable eating at a residential college instead.

Sandberg added that he would definitely use the dining hall himself if it provided services for a few days over break.

“This is my home in the States now,” he said. “When I’m not visiting someone, I am here, so of course I’d want to be in the dining halls.”

Fall recess lasts from Saturday, Nov. 19 to Sunday, Nov. 27.


  • silliwin01

    If true, this is wonderful news and a welcome step by Yale Dining.

  • River_Tam

    However, all the food shall include tofu in some form.

  • wtf

    Sorry, but I don’t want to subsidize the Thanksgiving dinner of rich international students who for whatever reason don’t want to go home for a break.

    Those who can’t afford to go home is one thing, but please, let’s use this extra money to improve food quality/menus, things that will benefit ALL students on the meal plans and not just the slim few who choose to stay here over break.

  • piersonpiersoncollege


    …you answered your own comment. There are plenty of not-rich and/or not-international students who can’t afford to go home over winter break and would greatly benefit from this, having already paid for (or been forced to pay for, if they live on campus) the meal plan.

  • JEThirteen

    @ wtf: Laying aside the fact that the price of a return ticket to my country is usually about $3000 at this time of the year, how do you expect me to go home for Thanksgiving break when the trip itself takes about 40 hours each way? I’d get a whole three days in which to see my family, with a heavy dose of jet-lag too.

    Also, I think you’ll find that more of these ‘rich international students’ who ‘don’t want to go home’ escape to the Caribbean for a week than stay at Yale. Life here is boring and sometimes even depressing over the Thanksgiving and Spring breaks. I’m always grateful for what precious few events are organised, whether by OISS or by my college, and I think that keeping a dining hall open would go a long way towards injecting the campus with some sense of life.

    Of course, there are practical advantages to having a dining hall open, too. Eating out every day can get expensive, and cooking is not always an option, even for those who are competent and willing. Not all colleges grant students access to a kitchen, and technically speaking we’re not even meant to have so much as a microwave in our rooms (though a diet of nothing but cup noodles is hardly appealing as it is). Shopping for groceries isn’t always trivial either, especially when your local supermarket disappears and you don’t drive or have access to a car.

    It’s clear enough to me that there’s sufficient demand for a dining hall to be kept open. OISS usually offers a few meals over the breaks, and these are extremely popular with international students. In fact, they’re usually attended by a large number of Americans too — some from the west coast or with families abroad, others stuck here with work, etc.. So don’t think this is a case of a few lazy and spoilt foreigners (to borrow your contemptuous tone) looking to free-ride. Many people find themselves stuck on campus over the breaks, and I suspect that most of them wish that they could return home instead. But given that they can’t, it seems a pretty reasonable request to me that the university keep one dining hall open for a few days.