By Hanl H. Park | The Crimson
With the goal of finding the perfect combination for Harvard diners, Harvard Campus Services continues to experiment with the selection of food trucks serving in the Science Center Plaza under the University’s Common Spaces Initiative.
For years, Harvard has been bringing food trucks from local companies to the plaza, and Campus Services continues to experiment with the diversity of offerings. The current selection of six regularly scheduled food trucks includes Bon Me, Captain Marden’s Seafoods, and Rhythm and Wraps.
“We feel like we found our niche,” said Aaron Cohen, owner of Rhythm and Wraps, which operates a food truck for lunch on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.
According to Cohen, Rhythm and Wraps was invited by Harvard to operate in the Science Center Plaza for a “brief trial period” that took place this past winter. Now, Rhythm and Wraps is staying at Harvard for an extended trial period, which is expected to last through summer.
Campus Services uses trial periods to determine which food trucks are most popular among Harvard affiliates, inviting only the most frequented to stay.
“All you need is to look and see the line for Bon Me and know that’s a popular choice,” said Meredith L. Weenick, the vice president of Campus Services.
The daily combination of food trucks available is determined by a strict schedule controlled by Campus Services. Each individual food truck company is told exactly which days of the week they can operate in the Science Center Plaza. As part of the agreement between Harvard and the trucks, food trucks must pay a $50 fee each day they conduct business in the plaza.
According to Weenick, Campus Services manages the times when trucks operate both to ensure the safety of people in the plaza when the trucks drive in and out and to minimize crowds on days when special events or fairs are scheduled to take place. On those days, Harvard may invite fewer food trucks in order maximize the use of the Science Center Plaza.
“We are still in the experimentation phase,” Weenick said. “Last summer, we had an ice cream truck. I don’t think he’s coming back. So, we are still trying to figure out what the right mix is.”
The Common Spaces Initiative is a program launched in 2009 that seeks to nurture a stronger sense of community by establishing areas for communal activity. Their past projects include art exhibits, outdoor performances, and special events and activities.