Over the past five years, CSU’s Hillel Center has held an interfaith “Friendsgiving” event, which aims to bridge gaps between campus communities and celebrate differences. The dinner is in partnership with the Colorado State Hillel Jewish Organization, Multi-Faith & Belief Key Civic Living Learning Community, Lutheran Campus Ministries, CSU’s Multi-faith & Belief Student Council, and Fort Collins Interfaith Council. The event also receives generous support from Everyday Joe’s Coffee House and Coca-Cola, who provide all beverages for the event.
Attendees describe their own traditions of giving thanks and give blessings before the feast commences. Spiritual, mental and emotional topics are covered in discussions between the diverse participants, though the event is never political, even if it occurs after the midterm elections this year.
“We like to focus on what unites us and why we’re grateful,” says Alex Amchislavskiy, CSU campus director for Hillel.
Hosted two Wednesdays before American Thanksgiving, the event is not catered. The cuisine offered includes kosher, halal, meat and dairy, as well as vegan or vegetarian options. The meal is hosted, prepared and cleaned up by students, with many dishes representing different religious origins.
“The event occurs to provide several opportunities for a group of diverse students and community members to work and serve across lines of faith and belief differences, resulting in a community Thanksgiving dinner event,” says Elizabeth Sink, a communication studies faculty member and member of the Fort Collins Interfaith Council who helps run the event.
The dinner will be hosted at Everyday Joe’s Coffee House, 144 S. Mason St., as it has been since 2015. This year, the event coordinators are expecting 175 attendees, though they cook for 200 in light of the event’s increasing popularity.