DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — A local university is giving its students something for which to be thankful. Wednesday, November 24, 2021 marked the 10th Annual Raidersgiving at Wright State University.

Although Raidersgiving looked different than years past, the goal remained the same.

“To give thanks for both our family, the family we inherit and the family we create,” Sue Edwards, the President of Wright State, explained.

What started with just 20 students, grew to hundreds; more than 1,100 students registered for meals this year. Students and staff were able to choose from a variety of dishes, complete with all the sides and fixings. And they did not forget about dessert!

Debra Radford, the Director of Auxiliary Services at Wright State, said this event helps bring people together and share an American tradition.

“We have a large international community here, so a lot of students who, it’s not as easy for them just to go home and enjoy Thanksgiving. So this was a way for them to understand the culture, understand what Thanksgiving means to us, and for us to include them into that tradition,” Radford said.

Students are thankful they could still celebrate the holiday this year while creating new traditions.

“Kind of nice, my family is really far away, so I won’t be able to see them this year. So it’s nice to have something, and still have a meal,” Caitlin Ganote, a student at Wright State, said.

“I’m far away from my family, so me and my sisters are going to meet on Facetime and have a Thanksgiving dinner,” Riya Parikh, another student at Wright State, said.

Eric Bigler graduated from Wright State in the 1980’s. Raidersgiving has always been an event near and dear to his heart.

“Many of the students would leave to go home for Thanksgiving, and the students left at Hamilton Hall, we managed, but I always thought it would be great to have an organized meal for students who live on campus, who cannot get away,” Bigler explained.

Now, he is part of the reason Raidersgiving carries on. Thanks to his generous donation, students and staff were able to take home a full meal on Wednesday.

Organizers hope to have a tradition, sit-down meal next year as long as it is safe with COVID-19.