Servo Thanksgiving: A tradition that endures

Students sitting at a long table together with food on the table
Students enjoying Servo Thanksgiving

The Bullets Marching Band, the Center for Global Education, the “Into the Woods” cast and crew, the athletic and academic experiences, the faculty and staff, the lifelong friends and mentors—these and more are what the Gettysburg College community is grateful for this year. Prior to the beloved Servo Thanksgiving tradition the week before the national holiday, students, alumni, and parents alike took to social media to answer the question of the week: “What are you thankful for here at Gettysburg?’

After a year without the tradition taking place in November due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fall event has long been awaited. Preparing the classic meal to provide a moment of togetherness is timeless—the golden-brown turkeys roasting in the oven, the mashed potatoes carefully whipped to perfection, the pumpkin pie filled with sweet spices in every bite.

“It’s such a big staple within our community—not only the dinner but all the prep for it,” said Giancarlo Castillo ’22. “As a senior, it is probably one of the greatest feelings to know that this is what we get to do.”

Joe Lynch speaking to students at Servo Thanksgiving
Joe Lynch ’85 serving students the Thanksgiving meal

“Having seen it for 20-plus years and working it as an employee, it’s cool to see it back after a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic. It’s gratifying,” added Joe Lynch ’85, the executive director of alumni relations, who was one of the many staff members who volunteered alongside faculty to serve the meal to Gettysburg students. “For many years, Servo Thanksgiving has connected our students to the larger campus community. They want to be together and they want to enjoy something, together.”

Rising with the sun, the women’s field hockey and soccer teams started the line outside the College Union Building, which extended past Plank Gym by the time the doors to Servo opened for the annual feast. Both soccer midfielder Julia Hunter ’25 and field hockey midfielder Sarah Scott ’24 looked forward to the family-style dinner, especially the opportunity it presented for those who may not be able to travel home.

“It’s just nice to sit down as a family,” Hunter said.

Line of students outside waiting to get into Servo Thanksgiving
The Servo Thanksgiving line extending past Plank Gym

Members from other organizations across campus followed in line to join in on the community, camaraderie, and celebration for a tradition that has endured for nearly 30 years.

“Every day, we get to see our favorite people, go to our favorite activities, go to our favorite classes and learn, and be a part of this unity,” Castillo said. “So, I think that’s why we’ve had this [tradition] for so long. … When we do come back, however many years down the line, with our kids or grandkids, they’ll see this and know this is something [treasured]. If they want to go to Gettysburg, it will still be here and they will get to enjoy that same rich history we did.”

Learn more about our time-honored traditions here at Gettysburg College.

Servo Thanksgiving 2021

By Megan Miller
Photos by Shawna Sherrell
Posted: 11/17/21