In addition to the annual dinner with President Mark D. Gearan and Mary Herlihy Gearan, the Hobart and William Smith community celebrated Thanksgiving early this year with The Grateful Plate, a new event exploring how different cultures express gratitude.
Featuring a panel of student speakers, as well as a special lunch for faculty and students, the event took place on Sunday, Nov. 23 from noon to 1:30 p.m. in Rees Hall’s first floor dining room. Panelists were Jericsson Pichardo ’15, Lauren Darcy ’15, Max Feldman ’15 and Namboowa Bakiika ’15. In addition, the International Gospel Choir performed.
“The Grateful Plate’s goal was to begin a dialogue with different student groups on campus of all faiths, including nonbelievers, around shared values of community, service and intercultural understanding,” said Jeremy Wattles, assistant director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL), who spearheaded the event. “The various student groups and offices sponsoring this event aim to build more of an interfaith dialogue and service oriented group and campus culture over time.”
The Grateful Plate was a collaboration between CCESL, the Office of Religious Life and on-campus student-led faith groups such as HWS Hillel and Christian Fellowship. All members of the HWS community were invited to attend.
To promote connections among different faiths, Chaplain Lesley Adams said emphasizing the similarities, rather than the differences is crucial. In a symbolic effort, each club co-sponsoring the event contributed dishes for the meal, including local produce from the Colleges’ 35-acre Fribolin Farm.
For Feldman, The Grateful Plate was the perfect opportunity to explore interfaith dialogues at HWS around gratitude. He said he enjoyed sharing his understanding of Judaism and its customs.
“In regards to how we say ‘thank you,’ for us it’s about giving back, and taking part in a tradition called Tikun Olam, which in Hebrew means to ‘repair the world,'” Feldman said. “This can come in any form of charity work or any way in which we help others by paying it forward.”