On Friday, 27 November, teachers, staff, special guests, students and international alumni gathered together for the 12th Annual PKUSZ Thanksgiving Celebration at Shang Shufang in the Peking University HSBC Business School (PHBS) building. Of all the previous Thanksgiving dinners, this one was extra special.
It was a time to commemorate the diverse community of PKU Shenzhen being together again, while also recognizing we are hoping the international faculty and alumni who could not make it this year will be reunited with us as soon as possible.
The event is graciously supported by multiple divisions of the university, including the Chancellor’s Secretariat Office, the International Affairs Committee, the HSBC Business School, the School of Transnational Law (STL) and the Peking University English Association.
2020 is a different year for everyone. The pandemic brought us a sea of changes. It has caused great suffering, but has also made us one. We got beaten down but stood up. We fell apart but unified again.
In times when hardship makes us materially poorer, we can respond by becoming richer spiritually. For example, people start to notice those around them and treasure interpersonal relationship more. Because of the hard times, our thankfulness has been deepened.
Thanksgiving is a tradition from the west, specifically the USA. In 1941, the fourth Thursday of November was officially designated as “Thanksgiving Day” in America. The holiday is positioned around the time of harvest for people to take this opportunity to reunite with family and friends and show gratitude for what they have. Regardless of whether or not it has been a prosperous year or a year of difficulty, it is a day for people to say their thanks out loud.
At PKU Shenzhen, each year, faculty, staff and students meet up for this warm night.
Marco Yang, from the School of Electronic and Computer Engineering and Gillian Mutyambizi from PHBS kicked off the event as hosts by welcoming faculty, students, alumni and guests.
Assistant Dean for International Affairs Professor Joon Young Park, who is leading the new International Office of PHBS, gave the opening toast. He took the opportunity to give wonderful wishes for all people in attendance and show appreciation for the evening’s feast.
A traditional Thanksgiving feast of turkey and much more was offered. Much of the food was prepared by the chef and cooks of Shang Shufang, who also graciously hosted the event. The dessert was prepared by Baekerei Thomas, a German bakery in Shekou. People were soon lining up to get food and then not long after going back for more!
Following the delicious meal, there were several more activities in the event to make it an even more beautiful memory.
Lucky Draw Thanksgiving Card
When attendees entered, they were given a small card to write down their name and what they are thankful for on. The card then acted as the ticket for the lucky draw.
Marco and Gillian chose five lucky winners and each winner then came to the stage to introduce themselves and tell the audience what they were thankful for. The prize was 20rmb of food vouchers to Canteen 2, donated by Happy Meal Time Catering.
Congratulations to all the winners!
Mao Na, Director of the PHBS International Office, won the first price. She said it’s a great honor to be invited, and she thanked everyone for dedicating themselves to their work and the epidemic prevention. She also thanked the people who organized such a wonderful party.
Another one of our winners was Chen Tiancai. He was surprised and caught off guard, but came to the stage to say, “The person I am thankful for is my supervisor, Zhai Hongbin. Thank him for guiding me on the way to do research.”
Rosy Wu was lucky as well. She thanked everyone in her life, both friends and strangers, who had offered help and showed kindness to her. When later asked about how she felt showing gratitude in front of people, she said there was no embarrassment, but it was a nice little interlude, also a bonus, in another word, an opportunity for her to show her kindness back to people, which made her feel warmer than ever. All above that, it allowed people to speak out their gratitude naturally, aligning with the purpose of Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving Bingo Game
Next up was a big group game. Everyone who wanted to participate was given a game card and once again put their luck to the test. The hosts introduced the rules and proceeded to lead the audience through the game, which had a Thanksgiving theme made especially for the event. There were four lucky winners!
Congratulations to winners! Quan Jialu from PHBS said” Thanks to my good teammates!”. Chen Yuqing from PHBS said, “The luckiest guy is here~”
What they feel about the 12th PKUSZ Thanksgiving Celebration:
Volunteer: Wang Junjing
“The turkey is so good and the cake is so good! I also spent a very happy evening with volunteers! Compared with last year’s Thanksgiving dinner, the number of people is a bit smaller, but the background music with a soft rhythm in Shang Shufang is very warm and touching! Happy Thanksgiving!”
Attendee : Hu Yujie
This year is my first year at Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School. It is also my first time to participate in Thanksgiving activities and eat turkey for the first time. Lots of firsts.
It was fun. Especially in the severe situation of this year’s fight against the epidemic, I’m happy to see that the overseas students around us can be with us. It’s fun to spend time with everyone, plus delicious mashed potatoes, cakes. I hope there will be many more nights like this.
Alumnus: Momir Amidzic
This was the first time being back on campus after graduation and it felt great catching up with classmates and professors. Unfortunately, due to global pandemic many of our foreign friends missed the ceremony, but hopefully next year we will have the opportunity to gather together for a Thanksgiving feast.
As the host, Gillian, said, “2020 is a year we are going to look back on and remember for the hardships it brought. But the other side of the story will be how we overcame those hardships together.”
Maybe saying thanks out loud will help and even cure each other slightly. Maybe the 12th PKUSZ Thanksgiving Celebration is just like a spark, lighting up a small part in our deep heart. Hope this event will be a symbol of a good start to the next year, and the warm flame of our hope will be passed to the next Thanksgiving Celebration.
Written by May
Photos by May & PHBS