AUP Community Blog

AUP Community Celebrates First-Ever Fall Fest

Lilly at the Fall Fest table

By Lilly Mildenberger

On Thursday, November 25, 2021, from 11am to 5pm, the AUP community held its first-ever Fall Fest, an inclusive celebration of sharing and gratitude held on Thanksgiving.

The history of Thanksgiving at AUP has involved the student body getting together and celebrating a traditional meal with turkey, mashed potatoes and all the usual extras. In the ever-changing world of Covid-19, we were unable to continue this tradition in the same way, but in addition to adapting to the global pandemic, we wanted to adapt to modern conceptions of history in order to create a more inclusive event.

As the First-Year Representative for the Student Government Association, I hear a variety of questions and concerns from students. One issue brought to me related to Thanksgiving was that the celebration needed a new name at AUP. We didn’t want our diverse student body, which hosts students from many cultural backgrounds, to have to subscribe to a limited conception of what this celebration could mean. We therefore decided to change the name of AUP’s celebration to Fall Fest.

To keep the spirit of sharing food while following AUP’s sanitary policy, which places restrictions on the capacity of events and prevented us from planning a dinner, we instead hosted a table in the lobby of the Combes Student Life Center, where students could drop by to enjoy fall-themed desserts, such as pumpkin pie and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, and could also receive a voucher for a pumpkin latte, courtesy of the AMEX Café on campus.

We also wanted to nod to the notion of giving thanks, so we designed the table to include a place where students, staff and faculty could write gratitude notes to each other, which would then be delivered to other community members through our campus mail service. We also encouraged community members to donate to Serve the City, an organization that delivers food to those without a home in Paris and with which AUP has worked many times. We had a very successful event with over 100 gratitude cards written and delivered as well as many donations.

In keeping with the spirit of gratitude, we wanted to thank AUP’s Office of Communications and Kilian Ordelheide, Director of Communications, for helping us order custom tote bags printed with the Fall Fest logo, as well as Mathieu Motta from IT Services, who provided a Polaroid photo booth where students could take pictures.

This event was highly enjoyed by all the students who came by! We hope that AUP can adopt this new tradition and encourage people to share their gratitude while enjoying treats together in a safe, inclusive way.