OLAS celebrates Thanksgiving as ‘family’

By Sandra Masibay

Visions of turkeys danced in some heads and on the dinner tables of potluck “dinners” at last Thursday’s Thanksgiving dinner.

The Organization of Latino American Students (OLAS) hosted its annual Thanksgiving dinner in the Chandelier room of Adams Hall. The room was filled with about 40 faculty members and students.

Everybody lifted a hand as students partook of a meal composed of two turkeys, cranberry sauce, macaroni and cheese, salsa and chips, buns, chicken, corn, cake and beverages.

For one student it was to be his only celebrated Thanksgiving dinner, as he is not going home next week because of studies.

“This is my Thanksgiving dinner. I won’t be going home this year,” said Jose Moreno, second year NIU law student.

“I have been to a few functions. It is a nice atmosphere. OLAS tries to make it a family atmosphere. It’s nice,” he said.

However, most students will be going home next week for Thanksgiving and view the meal as a pre-Thanksgiving celebration with friends.

“Within OLAS, we gather a sense of family. We are celebrating Thanksgiving as a family tonight. It is our Thanksgiving away from home,” said Lisa Jaques, president of OLAS.

“Thanksgiving reminds me of family. A traditional meal would start with cheese soup and go to meatballs and spaghetti. My grandmother is Italian. Then we would have ham, turkey, sweet potatoes and vegetables. Everyone would sleep afterward. I think it’s a certain turkey-substance (that makes you sleep), it’s proven!,” said Nick Padilla, a second year NIU law student.

After engaging in this $100 turkey question with several students, Michelle Bringas of the University Resources for Latinos (URL) came up with the answer.

“Truptophan—I’m pretty sure that is what the enzyme is in turkey that makes you sleepy,” Bringas said.

Many students were happy to have the opportunity to be with friends but also expressed notes of homesickness.

“We always say a prayer before our meal. Our family is very close. I look forward to going home for Thanksgiving. Family gatherings are special,” said Adriana Zapata, a sophomore Spanish major.

“My mom makes a combination of things for Thanksgiving, arroz con pollo, tamales, rice etc. I miss that when I think of home. I won’t miss it much, though, because I am going to Mexico in December!,” said Rick Hernandez, senior engineering major.

The night of dinner with friends and that Thanksgiving feeling of family can best be summed up by Paul Alvarez, vice-president of OLAS who said, “An event such as this demonstrates the unity within our community. It should not be limited during Thanksgiving but should be a yearlong occasion.

Participating campus groups included the University Resources for Latinos, Organization of Latino American Students, Zeta Sigma Chi, Alpha Psi Lambda and Sigma Lambda Beta.