The Easterner

Pridesgiving supports students

Students accepted and affirmed at annual Thanksgiving dinner

By Emmaline Sylvester, Reporter

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Not everyone experiences the support of their family in some picturesque Thanksgiving meal you might see portrayed in the media.

Because of that, guests walking into Monroe 205 on Nov. 20 were immediately welcomed in by students sitting around a large table. Piano music intertwined with laughter and filled the room as students were continuously greeted and seated. Nick Franco, the Pride Center manager, walked to the front of the table, and with their beaming, welcoming smile, greeted the room full of students and staff. Everyone had a place to sit at the table, and there were food options for everyone, including vegetarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free choices. After everyone was settled with their stuffing, blueberry muffins and rolls, Nick discussed the origins of the event.

Pridesgiving, an annual Thanksgiving dinner held on campus, is put together by the Eagles Pride Club, a student-run organization. The event began because “Students saw a need and wanted to hold an event where people are accepting and affirming of who they are,” Franco said. “Your identity doesn’t matter here, we’re just a community trying to have fun.”

Not everyone, especially in the LGBTQ+ community, is welcome home for the Thanksgiving holiday due to their identity. “This is an opportunity for people to feel like they belong in something that they may not have otherwise had the opportunity to access,” Franco said.

“Pridesgiving is a community of people gathering who share similar viewpoints and where your experiences are validated,” the Pride Club’s President, junior Jordan McGee said.

Once the plates containing the five different mashed potato options, ham and strawberry Jell-O were almost empty, students each took a turn around the table to say what they were thankful for. Students said they were thankful for things such as a group of support, having this one loving family that accepts them, a community to be themselves around and a real meal.

“I’m thankful for being 2,000 miles from home but still having a community here,” the Resident Life coordinator for Anderson hall Anna McNamera said.

Pridesgiving is an event designed to validate and support those who attend. It is catered for any individual who isn’t welcome at home because of their identity, or can’t make it home due to financial struggles or work demand. Now in its third year, people from all over campus, including members of the LGBTQ+ community, EWU staff and international students have increasingly attended this annual event.

“Going to Pridesgiving each year always makes me really happy to see there is such a big community, and it keeps getting bigger each year,” McGee said.

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Pridesgiving supports students