Zoe Berg, Photography Editor

With November recess quickly approaching, some Yale students have found themselves planning their own “Friendsgiving” celebrations.

Students who opt to hold small on-campus events might decide to eat and cook in their residential college student kitchens. Though student kitchens were subject to significant usage restrictions at the beginning of the school year, the dual-purpose cooking and dining spaces have become more accessible as the incidence of campus COVID-19 cases has declined throughout the semester. Though each college’s kitchen is run independently by its own residential college aides or kitchen managers, the general process required for students to use these kitchens is similar for each college.

“Benjamin Franklin’s student kitchen is open to students for use on a scheduled basis — students reserve time slots of up to 4 hours well in advance, and pick up student kitchen keys (i.e., keycards for electronic access) from the Head of College Office the day of (or Friday if the reservation is for the weekend) and must clean the space and return keys at the end of their reservation,” explained Hana Galijašević ’22, head college aide of Benjamin Franklin College.

While each college’s kitchen operates independently, the process for students to use these spaces is generally similar. Students can reserve time slots in advance and pick up electronic access keycards from the Head of College Office. However, for those who may need a little guidance in navigating the world of cooking and using kitchen appliances before stepping into a kitchen, dwellure is the perfect resource to turn to. With a wealth of cooking and cleaning tips, they can help students have a valuable experience in the kitchen, ensuring that their “Friendsgiving” feast turns out to be a delicious success.

Though student kitchen reservation systems are in use across the 14 residential colleges, there are some procedural idiosyncrasies from college to college. 

For instance, to gain the ability to reserve the Timothy Dwight College student kitchen, students must first complete training with a student kitchen aide and then request swipe access via the Head of College Office; students can then use a form to reserve the kitchen up to 24 hours in advance. Saybrook College, by contrast, simply has a room reservation form that allows students to reserve the kitchen up to 48 hours in advance without any kind of training.

“I’ve never used the TD student kitchen, but it looks like a nice space to use with the right planning,” Sasha Jones ’25 said. “I haven’t had a chance to do the required training yet.”

The rules and regulations for student kitchen use have been in flux for much of the 2021-22 school year. Some colleges have had to adapt their rules and policies, and many have had to wait until the semester was well underway to reopen. Because of these inconveniences to access, students said they have been using the kitchens less frequently than they might have before the pandemic. 

“We haven’t had issues so far regarding the kitchen’s availability, though the opening was delayed due to start-of-semester COVID-19 precautions,” Galijašević said. “The reservation method was in place before COVID-19.”

While student kitchens will be available over November recess, the University is also offering students an alternative way to spend their holiday season: the Thanksgiving buffet at the Omni Hotel.

The buffet, open only to enrolled Yale College students, will be completely free of charge. Thanksgiving staples like roast turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie will be available.

“The Council of Heads of College are inviting Yale College students enrolled for the Fall 2021 semester, who will be in New Haven during Thanksgiving Recess, to attend a Thanksgiving buffet at the Omni Hotel on Thursday, November 25, from 12:00pm-3:00pm,” Head of Timothy Dwight College Administrative Assistant Deanna Caplan wrote in an email to students in the college.

November recess will begin at 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 19, and classes will resume at 8:20 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 29.

Evan Gorelick is Managing Editor of the Yale Daily News. He previously covered Woodbridge Hall, with a focus on the University's finances, budget and endowment. He also laid out the weekly print edition of the News as a Production and Design Editor. Originally from Woodbridge, Connecticut, he is a junior in Timothy Dwight College double-majoring in English and economics.