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So what are you doing on the first day of Thanksgiving break?

Illustration by Arnie Bermudez
By Jason Poreda
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday November 24, 2003
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Ah, Thanksgiving: the true great American holiday. When else can we get together with family and friends, eat all day while watching football, and really get nothing accomplished other than losing our belts to squeeze in that last piece of apple pie?

My mouth is watering merely thinking of Turkey Day and all its glory. I, like so many UA students, love going home for this holiday, mostly because our only duties are to say "hi" to family we haven't seen in a long time and eat unlike other visits, when I find myself shoveling the driveway or mowing the lawn, immediately reintegrated into my loving family as if I never left.

Our parents have Mother's Day and Father's Day; Thanksgiving is really "College Student Day." Like kings and queens, we come home to visit after a long journey with our every need attended to. We get our laundry cleaned, our tummies filled and are reunited with family, recharging us for the finals looming just around the corner. If I were going home, I'd get to see my sister after her first semester of college, my brother and his new driver's permit, and of course, my mom and dad.

Jason Poreda

Every one of us should be able to bask in the joy of this wonderful holiday.

Unfortunately, this is not possible, and many of us, the students, are not able to really and truly enjoy our day. Many, including myself, have to remain behind at school because of the cost of airfare around Thanksgiving, the two full days of travel to get home and back, or a combination of the two.

Of course, if last year's student government, led by former ASUA President Doug Hartz, had its way, we would already be on the way home, getting prepared for the feasts that awaited us instead of getting ready for class. Just imagine being on fall break already, sitting on the couch without a care in the world, watching the game, playing with the dog, or goofing off with your siblings. Sounds pretty good to me, as I'm sure it does to most students.

The Faculty Senate disagreed, however, saying it was the students who would lose out and that if we really want to be a competitive institution, then we need as much academic time as we can get.

"You are the big losers," then-Faculty Sen. John Willerton told students in last year's Wildcat. "You lose three days that can't be made up."

Those of you who agree with this, I want you to sit in a class any class on Wednesday and see for yourself how many students show up for class assuming class isn't already canceled.

Instead, I am writing this column in preparation for a meaningless three-day week. I would rather spend the time that I am going to spend in class relaxing and working on the many projects and papers I have coming up. Apparently, the Faculty Senate forgot that its members assign so many projects near the end of the semester that having a week off three weeks before finals would be a huge lift for students, so they have more time to spend on their finals.

If having to be here for these three days isn't bad enough, the UA already has more scheduled class time than Arizona State and our other peer institutions. In fact, if three days were cut out of the schedule and we had our coveted fall break, the UA would still be in class longer than the average of our peer institutions.

The bottom line is that a fall break is not only something that the vast majority of students wants; thanks to the hard work of Doug Hartz and his team last year, we found out that it's possible. It's not the foolhardy dream of a few people like a student section in McKale.

The only reason we don't have a fall break is that the Faculty Senate is worried about making a change like this. Less class time usually isn't a good thing, but in this case, less is more.

For all those students not able to partake in this year's "College Student Day," you're not alone. Let's hope that the Faculty Senate will see the benefit of such a break so future Wildcats can triumphantly make the trip home, unlike those who came before them.

Jason Poreda is a political science and communication senior. He can be reached at

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