Thanksgiving morphs into ‘friendsgiving’ for some

Photo courtesy: Alyce Alexander

During the holiday season an empty campus can feel like a ghost town. With most students returning home for the break, it’s hard for those who stay in town to feel festive. Due to the university only closing for three days, students far from home feel nearly forced to surrender a Thanksgiving with their family.

Students and families are encouraging the university to extend the break so that travel arrangements can be made without a rush. Weekend flights and road trips are considered draining and, by some, a waste of money. In the meantime, everyone is doing their best to still come together and give thanks.

Jordan Sorrell, a San Antonio native and Florida A&M University student, says he did not go home for Thanksgiving but made a point to celebrate with his “FAMUly.”

“I had a ‘friendsgiving’ with all my friends who were still here, and we each brought assorted dishes,” Sorrell said. “We still were able to eat a good meal and play card games while passing the time.”

Like Sorrell, returning out-of-state students can prepare themselves and avoid a lonely holiday break. Not all students who remain on campus are as lucky to be surrounded by loved ones.

For freshmen, their first holiday away from home can be especially tough. Crystal Moulton, a first-year student from Broward County, says her break initially started off terrible as she saw everyone reuniting on social media. Eventually, she was able to connect with other students who were feeling the same way and enjoy a home-cooked meal.

“On Wednesday I met a classmate named Tiana and we agreed to order food and spend Thanksgiving together,” Moulton said. “Tiana and I were together when I saw an upperclassman from my hometown post that he had cooked. I was hesitant to reach out because we hadn’t spoken since high school, but he brought us plates and sat to eat with us. I was so grateful because it gave me that sense of community we all were missing.”

Despite not traveling home, some students were able to still carry out family traditions they value. Jonathan Walker, a first-year computer science student, says he just moved his Thanksgiving to a virtual celebration.

“My main tradition during this time is to sit with my family and share what we are thankful for,” Walker said. “To maintain tradition, we got on a call and all prayed together while sharing our gratitude.”

For students looking to travel home for Christmas and other holidays throughout the year, The HBCU Shuttle is a transportation company designed exclusively for college students. The shuttle makes stops in various cities in Florida and Georgia. You can see the departure schedule at