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January 12, 2021

Freshmen Enjoy Leadership Roles During Annual Dinner 

By Anne Kerhoulas, Staff Writer

Thanksgiving was a different holiday for most people this year, but thanks to the leadership and creativity of the freshman class, Christian Union Vox’s turkey dinner was one of the highlights of a socially-distanced semester. The annual event offers a unique chance for the freshmen to lead as well as an opportunity to invite non-Christian students to share a meal and hear the Gospel. With this year’s challenges due to COVID-19, the freshmen pulled off an impressive and impactful event. 

CU Vox Thanksgiving PH editedChristian Union Vox at Dartmouth hosted a series of events around its annual Thanksgiving Dinner outreach.

When the freshmen first learned about the annual dinner, they were adamant that they did not want to host a virtual event. “Traditionally, CU Vox gives the honor of planning and executing our Thanksgiving event to the first-year students. However, we weren't even sure whether this event would occur given the circumstances of this year,” said Anthony Fosu '24, one of the organizers.  


Whitney Thomas ’24, who also helped execute the event, adds, “Even though Zoom is still a great way to safely connect, it just really isn't the same as getting to bond in person. Even though an in-person Thanksgiving meant jumping through some extra hoops and logistical challenges, we were all up for the task because we knew it could be a really meaningful and bonding experience.” 


After a semester full of less than ideal virtual events on campus, students were tired of the literal distance, the lack of connection, and online events that were largely unenjoyable. Thomas says, “Some of the virtual adaptations of school traditions that we had experienced only saddened us more about our circumstances, and we did not want that same feeling of missing out to be experienced through CU Thanksgiving.” 


With some creative thinking and logistical prowess, the first-years were able to gather groups of nine people to share a meal together in person. 


Once all the groups had gathered together across Hanover, there was a brief online portion of worship and testimonies. The CU Vox worship team led a few songs, focusing their time on the Lord, and two freshmen shared brief testimonies. The first student grew up in a Christian home and shared about how the pandemic had impacted his senior year of high school and his freshman year of college. Neither year ended how he had hoped with senior graduation parties or starting college with the typical college experience. It was disappointing. Yet in the midst of his disappointment, the Lord was working in his heart and mind, largely through the community of CU Vox. 


“This event reminded us how faithful God has been to our class in particular,” Fosu '24 commented. “Through ending our senior year of high school without many of the rites of passage and starting our college term with a two-week quarantine, our class shared the common experience of having our educational experience disrupted. That experience was universal, and yet there was light in the midst of the darkness.” 


Another first-year shared about how welcoming the CU Vox community had been to him in spite of the fact that he was not a Christian. He was amazed by the community’s intellectual engagement, personal care, and willingness to have difficult conversations. Incredibly, shortly after the event, this student came to Christ and is now walking with the Lord.


This type of warm welcome has been felt by many of the 24s, including Thomas.


“The CU community has been so foundational already in my Dartmouth experience,” she said. “Coming into college, I was surprised to find such a vibrant Christian community on campus. I have been extremely comforted (as have my parents) to know that this is a place where not only will my faith not be weakened, but will be greatly strengthened.”


“It’s been incredible to meet people who are intellectually engaged with their faith and seek to serve God in their scholastic life. I just feel truly blessed to have found this community, and I now know why God sent me to Dartmouth.” 


The Lord is at work through CU Vox in spite of the immense challenges of connecting and ministering to one another during the COVID-19 pandemic. It seems that the community is thriving in many ways because of the circumstances—students see their need for the gospel and a community that points them to the truth of Christ every day. 


“The other freshmen and I really got a sense of the CU Vox community through this event,” said Thomas. “After a semester of Zoom, getting to sit down (socially-distanced) with other CU members and worship and eat was such a great way to end the term. After the dinner, I just had a moment where I was like, wow, this community is unlike anything I've experienced before in terms of how quickly we were able to pull this together and how appreciated I felt along the way.” 


Fosu stated that the witness of CU Vox and helping plan this event taught him that following Jesus is about loving others. 


“CU Vox has reminded me that our walk of faith is one that first and foremost involves love for God and love for our neighbor. This term, my neighbors and fellow disciples in Christ have taught, inspired, and forced me to reckon why I believe the things I do,” he said.


“This community challenges me to consider whether I live in a way that reflects what I believe. CU Vox reminds me that I serve a faithful God through Christ. By Him, I walk amongst ‘a great cloud of witnesses’ that proclaim God's name as one ‘voice crying in the wilderness.’ ”


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