Nov. 17, 1999
KALAMAZOO--As many as 300 international students from countries around the globe, along with their families, friends and members of the local community will gather on the Western Michigan University campus Saturday, Nov. 20, to observe the tradition of giving thanks.
The celebration, organized by International Worship at WMU, is set for 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the Student Recreation Center. The event will feature a free Thanksgiving dinner buffet, music and storytelling about how the American Thanksgiving holiday came to be, and a look at how other nations express the sentiment of gratitude.
Additional highlights of the event will be music by the WMU Gospel Choir; poetry by Patricia Wesley, a WMU graduate student in English; and music of thanksgiving from cultures around the world.
The event will give international students a chance to share in the traditional American Thanksgiving celebration and tie it to their own cultures' traditions of giving thanks, says Mlen-Too Wesley, chairperson of the dinner planning committee and campus minister for International Worshp.
"This is an effort to introduce and involve international students in this truly American holiday," he notes. "We want to provide a warm, celebrated event for international students who don't have the opportunity to be with families."
Wesley says in earlier years, similar Thanksgiving dinners have taken place at Kanley Chapel for some 150 people with meals provided by local churches. This year, planning members committee moved the event to the Student Recreation Center, where they can accommodate twice the number of participants. The catered meal is being provided through the support of community sponsors.
Admission is free, but organizers are asking that those who wish to attend obtain free tickets in advance at the WMU Bookstore, Waldo Library, the Office of Admissions and Orientation, the Office of International Student Services, or Kanley Chapel.
For more information about the event, contact Wesley at (616) 387-2218.
Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org
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