Student-led initiative for longer fall break kicks in this year

by Jennifer Johnson,

Limited options for food, activities available to students who stay on campus.

Fall break at Willamette is longer this year because of a student-led initiative.

For the first time in at least two decades, break runs Nov. 21-25, giving students more time over Thanksgiving to leave campus, decompress before finals and spend time with family and friends. These are just a few reasons why Associated Students of Willamette University (ASWU) in 2014 recommended the initiative, which gives students three extra days of vacation.

Andrés Oswill ’15, ASWU president during that time, thought of the idea after a canceled class affected a friend’s long-planned flight home. He also noticed class schedules were often inconsistent during that time, and many students took the entire week off anyway.

A longer break eases the travel costs for out-of-state students, who can book cheaper flights earlier, while an empty campus enables Willamette facilities workers to complete projects.

“The recommendation combined everyone’s interests,” Oswill says. “And it was entirely student driven.”

Administrators and staff from the College of Liberal Arts, Campus Life, the Office of the Chaplains and other departments worked with ASWU to fine-tune the plan.

Willamette is providing some activities and food for students who will stay on campus during the break, but they must register to participate. For a list of other things to do — in Salem and in Portland — view it here.

Food service

Several faculty and staff members have agreed to host students for a Thanksgiving meal, which requires student registration. University staff will do their best to match students with the most appropriate host. As noted in the list above, on Tuesday, Nov. 22, Campus Recreation is hosting a dinner, from 6-8 p.m. at Montag, plus games and crafts.

Cat Cavern will serve breakfast and lunch on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but the meals are not included on students’ meal plan. For students with meal plans, the last meal before break will be dinner Friday, November 18 and the first meal after break will be Sunday dinner, November 27.

Housing and transportation

Campus housing will be free of charge to residential students during the longer break. However, students must register with their RAs or the staff in Housing and Community Life if they plan to stay on campus any day from Nov. 19-27.

If students are flying home during break, ASWU has organized a shuttle pick-up on campus. The cost is $20 round-trip or or $10 one way, and the shuttle will be available on the Friday and Saturday before Thanksgiving, as well as the weekend following the holiday. Information is available here.

Students can also reserve tickets through the HUT Shuttle, which departs from the Salem Airport Terminal at 2990 25th St. SE.

If you are interested in staying on campus or want to participate in events, please connect with your area coordinator or contact the Housing and Community Life office at 503-370-6212.