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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

A Home for the Holiday

If+this+is+a+service+that+we+can+provide+to+even+one+student+I+think+it+is+worthwhile+to+do+so.

“If this is a service that we can provide to even one student I think it is worthwhile to do so.”

Assistant Director of the Office of Student Housing Joe DiMaria has reestablished the Thanksgiving Host Program that had been inactive since 2009. The program paired students who were unable to celebrate Thanksgiving at their homes with University of Massachusetts Boston community families who volunteered to share their homes on the holiday.
“I heard about the program this year from students and faculty and I thought it was a great idea,” said DiMaria, “I thought it was a excellent opportunity for international students to experience a part of American culture.”
This sentiment was reflected in the response from students. One international student wrote, “I really hope to learn about American traditions” in his or her application. Host families and interested students applied to participate in the program through email. Students were paired with faculty families based on transportation, dietary restrictions, and common interests.
The Thanksgiving Host Program was open to any UMass Boston student. Meredith Gamble, a graduate assistant for the Office of Student Housing, described the drive of the program, “to create more connections between students and the people that work here, and to build a stronger sense of community in general.”
Sociology Department Chair Russell Schutt offered to have students over for Thanksgiving because, “My wife and I feel that students should feel included in the UMass Boston community. I know what it is like to feel disconnected during the holidays so I like to think I can help students not feel left out.”
Ten students applied and five faculty members volunteered. All the students who applied will have a place to go because many of the faculty members offered to have more than one student share their holiday experience.
“The response from host families and students was really good, [and] if this is a service that we can provide to even one student I think it is worthwhile to do so,” said DiMaria.