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University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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News and Events
News and Events

A USC Chantastic Friendsgiving Celebration
November 22, 2021

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by Dr. Danny Park

On Thursday, November 18, the USC Chan student community came together to celebrate Friendsgiving in one of the largest in-person community gatherings hosted by the Division since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 90 students from all Chan academic programs (Bachelor’s, Master’s, OTD, PhD) enjoyed a dinner of turkey, prime rib, mac and cheese, holiday cookies, and more! Many students participated in an origami craft activity, posed in front of a photobooth, and were able to relax and unwind amidst the stress of this semester.

The Friendsgiving Celebration Dinner was co-hosted by USC Chan’s Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity (COTAD) chapter, the Occupational Therapy and Science Council (OTSC), and Global Initiatives. Of special note, COTAD created an informative visual display which dispelled commonly-held myths associated with American Thanksgiving and honored the Wampanoag Tribe who lived along the east coast of what is now called Cape Cod since the 1600’s.  Alvina Anderson of COTAD shared: “The mission of COTAD is based on the principles of justice, equality, diversity and inclusion, so we thought it was fitting to bring awareness to the sacrifices made by the Wampanoag Tribe as a result of their interactions with the European settlers.”

Many students expressed that a shared celebration of community was deeply appreciated after a very challenging season of distance and hybrid learning, separation from peers, COVID-19-related losses and worries, and the normal stress of school. Christine (Yeji) Han, a Post-Professional Master’s student from South Korea, spoke on behalf of many of her international student classmates, saying, “It was an eye-opening experience for us to experience Friendsgiving. Traditional Thanksgiving foods like cornbread and turkey with gravy and cranberries were new to most of us, and I saw many students enjoying the event and being excited even before the dinner started.” 

Jiwon Shin, a 1st year Entry-Level Master’s student and current International Relations Chair of OTSC, added, “It was very exciting to see so many of us gather together in person, just like the pre-COVID times. I know we’ve all been waiting for an official indoor social event like Friendsgiving since restrictions took place last year. Actually seeing students dressed up and enjoying good food and company almost felt surreal to me. I loved every part of it and I’m sure others would agree with me!” 

All in all, Friendsgiving was a very special evening for the Chan community as we near the end of 2021!