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Late November can be a trying time for John Carroll students. The semester is coming to a close, finals are just around the corner and most students haven’t had a break since classes started in late August. During this time of year, students look forward to an annual JCU tradition which provides a brief respite from coursework - Cafsgiving. The name honors the "Caf" - the student body’s term of endearment for Schott Dining Hall.

 

On the Thursday before Thanksgiving, JCU faculty and staff team up to serve the most anticipated cafeteria meal of the year. Cafsgiving is a holiday feast with all the trimmings. Faculty and staff step in as celebrity servers to dish up turkey with comfort food staples like sweet potatoes, mac & cheese and a wide array of favorite desserts.

 

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The meal does more than nourish the body. It feeds the souls of students, who are eagerly awaiting the upcoming holiday break. The long-standing tradition has taken place since the mid-1970's as a way to build community and reinforce the culture of family on campus. And it goes without saying that someone always seems to hold a door open of the Schott Dining Hall when the line often wraps well into the Inn Between - another beloved, albeit unspoken, JCU tradition.

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There is a contagious excitement on campus leading up to Cafsgiving. It’s not uncommon for lines to form hours ahead of the dining hall opening its doors. Some students who live off campus say that Cafsgiving is their one and only trip to the cafeteria for the year. The large turnout creates makeshift dining areas that fill up with students throughout the Lombardo Student Center. 

 

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For the JCU community Cafsgiving is more than a meal, there’s a social ingredient that brings students and faculty closer together. The stress of upcoming finals is temporarily put on hold, and students get to know their professors in a setting outside of the classroom. The simple joy of sharing a good meal with good company has made Cafsgiving one of the most anticipated and memorable traditions of the John Carroll experience. 

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