Richmond, VA: University of Richmond Considers On-Campus Food Trucks

By Scott Himeleim | The Collegian

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Duke University allows between twelve and fifteen food trucks to do business on its campus, ranging from French Baguette to Unique Dumpling. Elizabethtown College’s late-night weekend bus serves cheesesteaks and mac and cheese burgers to its students. Could the University of Richmond be the next college campus to provide mobile cuisine?

WCGA President Taylor Michals spoke with University of Richmond Dining Services staff near the end of last semester to gauge if late-night food trucks could become a reality on campus, she said. The idea spurred from an online survey Michals sent out to Westhampton College students over the summer.

The results showed that late-night food was a strong desire, she said.

Westhampton College junior Julie Brau believes it would be beneficial to all parties to bring the trucks on campus, she said.

“Companies would make a solid profit on weekend nights,” Brau said. “Plus, I’m a huge fan of the food trucks, so I’d be excited to see it happen.”

Blake Widdowson, retail operations director for dining services, has been aware of the budding trend of food trucks on college campuses, he said, and has been in communication with WCGA members to find a solution.

The search has been unsuccessful so far, though, because no food trucks in Richmond work late night hours. Most close at dusk, he said.

Michals said she was still confident a solution would be found at some point, whether it were a late-night option or during the day.

“I’d rather have something during the day than nothing at all,” Michals said.

Westhampton College Dean Juliette Landphair has discussed the idea with Michals, she said, and hopes it will succeed.

There is potential for the idea, Landphair said, but it is still “just a skeleton” at this point. It would be interesting to see where the idea is a year from now, she said.

The idea for food trucks carries credibility, she said, because there has been similar implementation recently from other college campuses.

Elizabethtown and Duke have noticed considerable success from having trucks on their campuses, respective school spokespersons said.

Elizabethtown installed its late-night truck, the Bird Feeder, very recently, spokeswoman Amy Mountain said. The truck originated from student demand for a venue that would be available during late-night social activities.

The student body benefited, since it could stay on campus for food rather than leave late at night, Mountain said. The times and locations of the truck on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights are published on the Elizabethtown website.

The truck has also become a social activity in itself, Mountain said. Students view the drivers as local celebrities, she said, and enjoy the overall interaction immensely.

At Duke, two to three trucks typically sit out in central areas of campus, said Larry Moneta, student affairs spokesman. Trucks rotate from spot to spot on campus, including near dining halls and dormitories, he said.

They are viewed as “a nice complement” to the standing food programs already, he said.

“With 41 food venues around campus, the trucks are a great seasoning more so than an entree,” Moneta said. “But sometimes, the seasoning can make the meal.”

http://thecollegianur.com/2013/02/04/university-of-richmond-considers-on-campus-food-trucks/31856/