Thanksgiving Unity Dinner welcomes all Nov. 24

Posted at 11:54 AM, Nov 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-17 11:54:58-05

The Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions will host its annual Thanksgiving Day Unity Dinner from 3-6 p.m.  Nov. 24 in the Brody Classrooms.

This free event will feature food from local restaurants Bob Evans, No Thai and King of the Grill, along with MSU Culinary Services. In addition to dinner, this year’s event will feature games, prizes and a DJ.

The Unity Dinner is a celebration of the diversity at MSU and was implemented to welcome and support students from various racial, ethnic, international and domestic backgrounds.

The annual dinner got its start during the Thanksgiving weekend of 2003. Felipe Lopez, an aide with the office known then as the Office of Racial Ethnic Student Affairs aide (it would change to OCAT in 2006) and a member of Culturas de las Razas Unidas, saw hundreds of students isolated and alone. With dining hall hours limited during the Thanksgiving break and many students lacking extra money to spend on food during the long weekend, Lopez took the initiative and invited East Neighborhood residents to a pizza dinner and called it “Homies-Giving.” Since 2003, there has been a Unity Dinner every Thanksgiving.

After Lopez left MSU in 2007, CRU and OCAT staff members and volunteers, including OCAT’s Juan Flores, have organized the dinner.

“My favorite part of this is seeing all of the students eating together and making friends,” Flores said. “We’re really providing a place to build community and have a delicious meal when everything else is closed down.”

Last year, 435 students attended the event.

The dinner is free and all students are welcome. To secure your place at the Thanksgiving Day Unity Dinner table and to ensure that there is enough food to go around, register by clicking here and filling out the form. Or, stop by the OCAT office on the third floor of the Student Services Building. Pre-registration deadline is midnight Nov. 21.

The Thanksgiving Day Unity Dinner is always accepting donations and new volunteers to help with distributing food. For more information about the dinner, or if you’re interested in getting involved, contact Flores at or call (517) 353-9590.

The event is sponsored and supported by OCAT, CRU, Residential and Hospitality Services, the Office of International Students and Scholars, Neighborhood Student Success Collaborative, College of Social Work and the East Lansing Rotary Club.