College students don’t always have the opportunity to make it home for every holiday, so Valley City State University makes sure students who stay in town over the holidays are provided a nice meal.
VCSU is teaming up with Vicky’s Viking Room to offer a Thanksgiving meal to college students who aren’t able to make it home for the holiday weekend.
“I’ve always felt bad that I know there are students that can’t go home because it’s such a short holiday,” said Kari Stricklin, director of student activities at VCSU.
She said that for the past six to seven years, she’s always looked for a way to provide students with a holiday meal and entertainment.
In the past, Stricklin had taken food donations from VCSU faculty and staff and cooked a meal for the students, sometimes with the help of coaches and her mom, but the past couple years she hasn’t been able to. That’s when she had the idea to team up with Vicky’s Viking Room.
“Last year when Vicky’s opened up, instead of cooking, I just decided to contact her (Vicky Jones, owner),” Stricklin said.
And Jones gratefully accepted. “It’s very nice thing that they support us,” she said.
The meal will feature a three-meat buffet with meatballs, ham and turkey with all the fixings. The restaurant is also open to the public for the holiday.
The meal is free for the students, and Jones provides the meal vouchers to the college at a reduced rate. Viking Campus Activities Board (VCAB) and the housing department sponsor the event.
Stricklin said it’s not just students living in dorms who can partcipate.
“It’s also available for people who live off campus and can’t go home if they are working,” she said. “We’ve even offered to bring them a meal if they’re working during that time frame.”
They also try to do some other activities with the students. The bowling alley is open that day, so students can bowl at a reduced cost.
Moreover, on Saturday, VCAB is renting a bus, where they’ll bring students to Fargo to have a day of either bowling, a movie, roller skating or shopping.
“There’s a lot of out-of-state kids who don’t have vehicles,” Stricklin said, adding that this makes it easy for them to get to Fargo.
Stricklin says they plan to continue the tradition of providing meals for students on Thanksgiving. She said either she’ll cook or they’ll go to a restaurant, depending on the need.
Stricklin really enjoys preparing the meal herself, because if a student has a favorite dish from back home, she tries to re-create that dish.
“It’s usually a little bit more than just your traditional Thanksgiving meal,” she said.
VCAB also makes sure students that are staying over the Christmas holiday break have a place to go, and they find a restaurant to eat at on Easter too.