With homesickness settling in alongside academic pressures as the semester closes in towards final exams, Thanksgiving is a welcome holiday for students in hopes of rest, comfort and time with family and friends. However, for many students, home is too far away or the financial pressure is too much. For those students without a place to go to for Thanksgiving, Biola University, for the second year, has offered students a home away from home. Months prior to the holiday, faculty and staff signed up to host students on Thanksgiving.

Director of Residence Life, Rachel Clark, told Biola’s student newspaper, The Chimes, that Biola saw a need and wanted to make something happen to meet that need.

“It’s cool that people are welcoming,” Clark said. “And what a cool experience, a different experience with a family for Thanksgiving, to take the risk and join someone else. Sharing and connecting stories has a lot to do with being a Christ follower.”

Senior Karen Myers is excited for just that – to experience Thanksgiving with another family and see how they celebrate. With her home in Wichita, Kan., it is almost a full day of travel as there are no direct flights and with the high cost, she decided to stay in La Mirada as she has for the past three Thanksgivings. However, this is the first year she will spend it with her professor and his family.

“It feels good that someone actually invited me. I haven’t been making a big deal about staying here… I was just planning on hanging out at home,” said Myers.

When Torrey Honors Institute professor, Fred Sanders found out Myers had nowhere to spend the day of Thanksgiving, he invited her to spend it with his family. Although, Myers would rather be with her family for the holiday, she is thankful for Sanders’ offer and excited to spend time with his children, as she misses her own nieces and nephews.

“I was at Grace Group, and Dr. Sanders asked me where I was going on the day of thanksgiving. I told him I didn’t know… he invited me and then I felt, ‘oh, I’m wanted’,” she said. 

Myers is just one of many students spending the holiday away from home. Biola staff and faculty look forward to providing a place for these students to spend Thanksgiving, so they may celebrate the holiday with their Biola family.

Written by Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator. Jenna can be reached at (562) 777-4061 or through email at jenna.l.bartlo@biola.edu.