Students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to schmooze and dine on food truck fare at the lot below Sycamore Glen beginning Feb. 9. Associated Students of Occidental College (ASOC) President Paul Charbonneau (sophomore) worked with Faculty Council and Campus Dining to bring a rotation of food trucks to campus every Monday and Thursday from 11:30–1:30 p.m. Favoring a variety of trucks, Charbonneau said that the vendors will not be able to accept Occidental meal or debit plans — only possible if the same truck came each day — but will take cash, check, credit and debit.
Slanging Corea, which serves Korean-Mexican fusion cuisine, is first on the menu. Charbonneau plans to release the vendor lineup soon, which includes a large variety of fusion and trendy food trucks managed by Curbside Bites, a Los Angeles food truck broker.
Although Eva Townsend (junior) is wary of price and hopes that students will get their money’s worth in portions, she is excited to have the trucks on campus.
“Food trucks are a cool way to try different kinds of foods, especially with a group of friends,” Townsend said.
Joyce Liao (senior) agrees that food provides a great way for people to bond and hopes to see the Kogi, Plant Food for People and India Jones Chow trucks to be in the lineup.
Charbonneau suggested this pilot program while brainstorming with Faculty Council early September of last year on ways to increase student-faculty interaction outside of the classroom.
“The big things I wanted to work on when I got elected was community and what students can expect from their student government,” Charbonneau said. “Cool things like this is what they can expect.”
The food truck program serves a dual purpose of providing an additional dining option near the new Dumke Faculty Commons in the Arthur G. Coons administrative building, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Amos Himmelstein said. The President’s Office wanted to encourage faculty to utilize the commons as well as the adjacent patio, especially to socialize with the campus community.
A long-term, in-house dining option on upper campus is not currently a possibility, as it would require a larger Campus Dining budget, time and planning. Thus, the food trucks were a convenient alternative, according to Associate Vice President for Hospitality Services Amy Muñoz. Although the trucks will not accept Occidental meal or debit plans, Muñoz does not anticipate a major impact to Campus Dining operations other than a slight decrease in sales when a truck is on campus.
According to the Campus Dining website, outsourced vendors contradict Campus Dining’s “Oxy’s Own” mission to provide meals made by and for the Occidental community. However, Muñoz hopes that the pilot program will be an interim step pending the long process of budgeting, logistics and licensing a college-owned and operated food truck.
Himmelstein encourages students to submit their suggestions and feedback in the Food Systems Working Group Suggestion Box.