By Maria Elliott
Nearly 400 students gathered in Kilcawley Center to celebrate the third annual Friendsgiving the week before Thanksgiving.
Friendsgiving gatherings may be rising in popularity for college students because they’re a way for students to celebrate the holiday together, according to Carrie Anderson, associate director of student activities.
“It seems like it’s become more and more of an event that brings friends together prior to them going home to be with family for Thanksgiving,” Anderson said.
The Student Government Association, YSU Dining Services, Kilcawley Center and Greek Life also collaborated to put the event together.
“This event was used to boost donations to the Student Government food pantry to help students who struggle with food insecurity get through the upcoming breaks,” she said.
Students could attend the event using their student meal plans or by donating two canned or nonperishable food items for a Student Government food pantry drive sponsored by Poverty Awareness in Youngstown and YSU Greek Life.
The Friendsgiving celebration, which was organized by YSU’s Student Activities, was themed for the television show “Friends.” Anderson said there were several rounds of “Friends” trivia games, where attendees could earn small prizes, and each table had a “What ‘Friends’ Character are you?” quiz.
Participating fraternities and sororities donated canned goods formed in the shape of famous symbols from the TV show, such as the Central Perk coffee mug, the coffee shop couch and the fountain from the opening theme.
Attendees then voted on their favorite creations using the YSU app. Four representatives for Poverty Awareness in Youngstown served as additional judges.
According to Anderson, the evening’s menu featured a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, roasted butternut squash, panko-crusted green beans and mashed potatoes. She said the other items included some vegan dishes and options for those with other dietary restrictions.
Dre Hen, a senior exercise science major, said he came to the event for the free food. Hen said he also felt it was a nice event for students looking for a holiday activity and said there was a good turnout.
“It’s great because it’s good Thanksgiving food here, nice quality food and it’s a nice family atmosphere,” he said.
Megan Scutillo, a sophomore engineering major, said she attended the event to have a fun night out with her friends and to enjoy the Thanksgiving food.
“I was really excited about eating pumpkin pie,” she said.
Scutillo said events like Friendsgiving are especially important for international students who might want to be included in the holiday festivities but don’t have an opportunity to spend time with their families.
Diana Lurtz, a freshman accounting major, said she came to Friendsgiving because the dining hall wasn’t open and she was interested to see what the event would offer.
“It’s cute, and it’s a good idea for people who can’t go home,” she said.