While campus may have seemed very quiet over the weekend, the President’s House on South University Avenue was buzzing with Thanksgiving festivities.

University President Mark Schlissel invited about a dozen students who stayed on campus during Thanksgiving Break to celebrate the holiday with him and his family. Many of these students had obligations on campus or are originally from places far from the University.

Education junior Hugo Lawton, an Australian international student, said the dinner allowed him the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving, which he otherwise would not have done.

“It was a great way for all of us, who would have otherwise been sitting in our room all week, a great way to feel very included in the holiday and have a chance to celebrate with people,” Lawton said.

Though many of the students did not know each other prior to the dinner, Lawton said the president made everyone feel welcome, adding that he was surprised by the dinner’s informal atmosphere. After dinner, Schlissel gave the students a tour of the house.

“It felt like a family Thanksgiving dinner,” Lawton said. “It didn’t seem like the president has been forced to host a Thanksgiving dinner and cater for some kids. It seemed like he was really interested in being there and really very interested in what we were studying and what’s going on in our lives.”

Prior to dessert, and in the spirit of Thanksgiving tradition, everyone at the table shared what they were thankful for this year. Schlissel also asked the students to share something they like about the University that they don’t want him to change.

Lawton said he enjoyed hearing Schlissel speak candidly and reflect on his first semester on campus.

“It was really significant to hear how welcome he feels in the community,” Lawton said. “He feels like we’ve embraced him and his family so warmly; that’s what he said he was thankful for.”

At the dinner, Schlissel said he hopes to create a tradition of inviting students to his home to celebrate Thanksgiving.

During Welcome Week, Schlissel met students and served ice cream at his home. During her tenure, former University President Mary Sue Coleman opened her doors to trick-or-treating students on Halloween night.

Daily News Editor Ian Dillingham contributed to this report.

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