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7 Thanksgiving Conversation Starters From the Forty Acres


It’s that time of year again — the weather is slightly cooler, loved ones are enthusiastic to gather, and burnt orange clothing is a fashion trend — for Longhorns and non-Longhorns alike.
As you prepare for the holiday, take a minute to look through some UT-related Thanksgiving content — including history, research and tips. One of these might be the perfect dinner conversation starter.

1. Tips for Gathering Safely Over the Holidays

Lauren Ancel Meyers, director of the UT COVID-19 Modeling Consortium, and other COVID-19 experts share six tips to help you safely catch up with your loved ones over the holiday season in this article.

2. The University’s First Thanksgiving

Seven years after its inception, the university built and opened its first residence hall, the original Brackenridge Hall, also known as B. Hall. Prior to this, Thanksgiving had been a quiet and lonely time on the Forty Acres. All of that changed on Nov. 26, 1891, when UT hosted its first Thanksgiving dinner in Brackenridge Hall for about 55 students who were not traveling home for the holiday. Read more about the celebration in this article written by Jim Nicar, author of the blog UT History Corner.

3. Thanksgiving 1916: The Bevo Tradition Is Born

The last two days of November 1916 were quite eventful for The University of Texas at Austin. The university held a homecoming celebration that attracted thousands of alumni, featured the inauguration of a new university president, hosted the first Texas vs. A&M football game in Austin in seven years, and created a new Longhorn tradition. Read more about the events that led up to the introduction of UT’s beloved Bevo tradition in this article from Alcalde magazine.

4. Longhorns & Aggies Come Together to Beat Hunger

Each year, the UT Sport Club Association — composed of 45-plus student organizations sponsored by RecSports — hosts an annual canned food drive. This year, the drive will benefit the UT Outpost — the free on-campus food pantry and career closet for all currently enrolled students at UT. Help the association beat Texas A&M in a friendly rivalry by donating healthy nonperishable items through Nov. 30. Learn more here.

5. This Black Friday, Consider Buying Experiences Over Things

Research says people derive more happiness from their experiences than their possessions. A researcher at the McCombs School of Business dove deeper into this topic by testing whether people feel happier in-the-moment when participating in experiences or when using material items they bought. Read more about the experiment here.

6. Thanksgiving Dinner Surprise

UT’s Biodiversity Center put together an informational blog post on how the very first Thanksgiving dinners included not only turkey — but, surprisingly, eel as well. Read more about the early tradition here.

7. Have You Ever Wondered About the Science Behind Your Favorite Dishes?

Cook ’em is an online collection of student-produced videos designed to highlight food science and safety techniques with easy-to-understand recipes. Need a recipe for homemade cranberry sauce? We’ve got you covered. Find more recipes and cooking tips here.