A Peircegiving Miracle
Peircegiving — Peirce Thanksgiving — is one of Kenyon’s most cherished fall traditions. One week before actual Thanksgiving, on the last night before campus clears out and everyone heads home for break, the Kenyon community comes together to share in a feast at Peirce Dining Hall. This year, Carolyn Ten Eyck ’18, celebrating her third Peircegiving, spoke with Harper Beeland ’20 as he experienced his very first Peircegiving.
Carolyn: Hi, Harper. Peircegiving was last night, and Peirce was as packed as ever! Did you expect it to be that crowded?
Harper: Actually, I was expecting it to be a lot worse. Upperclassmen had told me that people start waiting in line two or three hours before dinner even begins, but when my friends and I arrived at Peirce around 5, we only had to wait for about 30 minutes to fill our plates.
C: That’s not bad. The line usually moves pretty quickly once they open it up. People always get impatient and start lining up hours before the food is ready, which can add to the hysteria. I prefer to get to New Side early and grab a table, but stay seated until the line is actually moving.
H: Yeah, the hardest part was finding a seat. We wandered through every known seating area in Peirce (Old Side, New Side, the Alumni Dining Room, the outdoor patio, and even Peirce Pub), but then we miraculously found a spot on Old Side just as it opened up.
C: A Peircegiving miracle! I’ve always been lucky, table-wise. I can usually find a friend who got there ridiculously early and join them, or grab a table just as people are leaving. What did you think of the food?
H: It was great. I appreciated the twists on classic Thanksgiving dishes (e.g. sriracha maple Brussels sprouts), but I realized midway through my meal that I had piled so many good things on my plate that I didn’t even have enough room in my stomach for them all. But luckily, there was still room for two slices of pie; that’s a different stomach entirely.
C: Agreed. As a vegetarian, I’m always impressed with the accommodations Peirce makes for students with dietary restrictions. Meatless stuffing, lots of good casserole side dishes, and a whole table of gluten-free pies! I piled my plate high with mashed potatoes and cornbread stuffing, and was content. It’s always a relief to get back to your table and friends, though, after a buffet with an almost overwhelming amount of options. Did you plan to go with a specific group of people?
H: I did; I made plans with my closest friends to eat with them. And since we all had heard how crowded it would be, we made it a point to stick together. That being said, we were very grateful to be able to survive the lines and sit down at a table unscathed. We were all great friends before Peircegiving, but I really think that specific meal brought us even closer together.
C: Peircegiving can be a bonding moment, for sure. My first year at Kenyon, my pre-Orientation group and leaders (I was on the Outdoors trip) made plans to eat together. It was the first time we’d all been together for a few months, as we had all branched off and made new friends. But it was really great to sit with the first people I’d met at Kenyon and talk about how our years had gone so far. Later, my best friend from my hall stopped by, and we ate dessert. It’s a meal for celebrating friendships, to be sure.
H: Since we’re on the subject of your first Peircegiving, let me ask you a question. Has your Peircegiving experience or the event itself evolved from year to year for you?
C: Things are different and the same. I’ve eaten with a different group of friends every time, which I guess reflects how my social life has changed throughout college. My best friend from my first year transferred, and the friends I ate with last year are abroad. Little things have changed, like where the buffets are and what kind of cookies they serve (bring back the frosted cookies shaped like acorns!) but the meaning it has for me has remained the same. Peircegiving is busy, full of food, and at times overwhelming, but it always brings me joy and makes me feel closer to the Kenyon community as a whole, and for that I am grateful.