Yale Daily News

November recess officially begins at 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18, and thousands of Yalies are gearing up to travel home. But for students planning to remain in New Haven for the break, there are countless activities and events to look forward to.

On Thanksgiving day, the Yale Council of Heads of College will host a Thanksgiving day feast for Yale College students at the Omni New Haven Hotel. This is the second year that the Council of Heads of College have hosted this Thanksgiving feast. The buffet will take place from noon to 3 p.m. and is free of charge for all students.

“I really appreciate [Yale’s] effort to make a home wherever students are,” Valerie Nguyen ’24 said. “Most students are going home, and it’s possible that some students who are staying here are not [staying] by choice. It would be nice for them to be able to have a nice dinner and experience Thanksgiving traditions even though they’re not at home.”

A number of traditional Thanksgiving foods are being served such as roast turkey, giblet gravy, stuffing, honey glazed ham, garlic buttermilk smashed potatoes and apple pie. The full menu is available in an email sent out to each undergraduate student by their respective residential college.

To guarantee a place at the Thanksgiving lunch, students had to reserve a spot through Yale Connect by Wednesday, Nov. 16 at noon. After that point, spots may be reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“It was nice to know that Yale prepared something for the people who stayed back,” Sophia Lee ’23, who attended the Thanksgiving feast last year and will also attend again this year told the News.

While the campus, including the residential colleges, will largely remain open, all dining halls will be closed from Wednesday, Nov. 23 to Saturday, Nov. 26, according to an email sent out to students from Senior Director of Yale Hospitality Bob Sullivan. Unfortunately for students staying on campus, this means they will have to find alternative food options during those days, including cooking in the residential college student kitchens or eating out at restaurants.

The email also denoted that the Benjamin Franklin, Pauli Murray, Branford & Saybrook College dining halls will be open for brunch and dinner on Saturday, Nov. 19, while only the Franklin dining hall will be open for lunch and dinner from Sunday, Nov. 20 to Tuesday, Nov. 22. On Sunday, Nov. 27, Davenport, Ezra Stiles, Grace Hopper, Morse, Silliman, Trumbull and Timothy Dwight College dining halls will re-open with brunch, while the remaining residential dining halls will re-open with dinner.

Sullivan wrote that the Elm, Steep Cafe and other cafe locations will remain open with limited hours. However, all cafe locations are closed between Nov. 24-26. Commons and The Bow Wow will re-open on Nov. 28 when classes resume.

With most of the student body returning home, the campus will be much emptier, something that Nguyen says will be enjoyable.

“I’m actually pretty excited,” Nguyen told the News. “I find that sometimes traveling is more exhausting than I’d expect it to be, and even though there is a lot of joy in going home, there’s also a lot of value in staying and resting. When the school year gets really busy, it’s hard to have a lot of alone time, so I think it will be nice to have that over break.”

Kelly Li ’24 and Lee both stayed in New Haven during November break in 2021, and they shared similar sentiments about the tranquility of campus when most students are away for the break.

Lee noted that remaining in New Haven for November recess last year allowed her to get much-needed rest.

“It was super restful,” Lee told the News. “When it’s break, and everybody’s gone, I find that campus is really peaceful and quiet. It’s very, very different from the usual. It also just doesn’t really feel like Yale anymore. In a sense, I’m really able to enjoy the beauty of campus and the beauty of its architecture.

Lee will be spending her November break this year working on her senior thesis while also spending time with friends who are also staying in New Haven.

Having quiet, peaceful moments to breathe is also something that Li values.

“I think last year … it felt quite peaceful because there were less people on these streets,” Li said. “It felt quite freeing to know that you could just walk around, be by yourself and have a moment of peace, because you know that it is probably going to be one of the only times at Yale where you’ll have that opportunity.”

Many students, including Nguyen, Li and Lee, also have plans to visit friends in the New England area or travel to New York City, an excursion that is always popular among Yalies.

After going to New York, Carla Rangel ’24 says she plans on going to East Rock a few times and “trying out some new restaurants.”

“I think I would like to explore New Haven more,” she said.

Staying in New Haven over break can also be beneficial as it gives students the opportunity to spend time exploring the city’s offerings, which they often don’t have time to do during the busy school year.

For Rangel, this November will be her first time staying in New Haven during Thanksgiving. She has mixed feelings about it.

“I’m trying to figure out how I feel about it because I won’t be spending it with my family, which is not the best, but I’ll have some friends around so hopefully that will help me feel more accompanied,” Rangel told the News.

Events like the Thanksgiving buffet at the Omni Hotel aim to provide a sense of community at a time when the campus has emptied, and Rangel says she is looking forward to attending the feast.

The Omni New Haven Hotel is located at 155 Temple St.

Joshua Zhang previously covered religious life and culture at Yale. Originally from San Diego, California, he is a second year in Branford College majoring in Computer Science and Economics.