Food trucks are delicious, extremely diverse and rapidly becoming a part of Dallas’s culinary scene. If we are just a little bit lucky, and more than a little bit persistent, they will become a part of UT Dallas’s too.
Student outcry for food options has felt so long ignored that it is easy to be incredulous of change, but trucks of artisanal delicacy are only a hop, skip, and email of interest away from an on-campus reality. This year, while planning for Oozeball, the Dean of Undergraduate Students, Dr. Piñeres, intimated that the University is considering bringing food trucks onto campus. As I began to seek details, Brittany Sharkey, Student Government President, revealed that the plans were far more advanced than I could have known.
She explained that the university already had a short list of vendors and that recruiting food trucks is cheaper and easier than building a new restaurant on campus; food trucks already have their licenses, their equipment and their kitchen. They don’t even need built-in room for us to queue.
But alas, a catch—Raj Seth, a student representative on the university’s joint food committee with Chartwells, explained that the vendor the university is most interested in pursuing is, surprise, Chartwells. They’ve even started looking at trucks together! While a rotating menu of otherwise inaccessible food does sound like a vast improvement, the implementation doesn’t sound ideal.
Think of the last meal you had on campus. Did you enjoy it?
If the answer is “No, but I was no longer hungry,” then you rank in the majority. Chartwells may meet our university’s needs, but it doesn’t exceed them. Greasy pub food and uninspired meals at the Comet Café and Dining Hall satiate, but they don’t draw prospective students onto our campus.
Something is better than nothing, but quality matters.
If you agree, here is what you can do:
Attend Memories on the Mall, the post-commencement celebration this May. TrailerCakes, an immensely popular Richardson bakery (Yelp this, seriously!), will be piloting the idea of off-campus trucks with customized cupcakes. Something more savory may also make a debut.
You will be helping to prove three things, which ride hand in hand:
Viability. Can food trucks really meet demand? Will they be willing to come back? Would they consider relocating a truck to campus on a permanent or semi-permanent basis? What about commissioning a new truck, just for that purpose? Is there an ideal location for food trucks to park, and where is it?
Profitability. If trucks can’t make money by servicing our students, then we won’t have any vendors to partner with.
Student Interest. Beyond profitability, expressions of student interest will be critical in pitching this idea as a permanent campus fixture. Talk to administrators you know, call Student Affairs, and go to amputd.com where you can sign our petition.
One way or another there will be more food on campus, and it is possible that truly delicious, local, small businesses could serve us lunch on a daily basis.
Let’s not set our sights lower than we have to.