Food trucks bring variety, convenience to campus dining

Rachel Cooper

University Unions began offering food trucks on campus last week for students who are bored with the usual on-campus lunch options.

Mulugeta Ferede, executive director of University Unions, said they have been working with Student Government since 2014 to bring food trucks to campus. SG passed a resolution in 2015 in support of the food trucks, and Ferede said after construction delays and collaboration with other university departments, the program finally started last week. Currently, one food truck is scheduled to serve every weekday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m near Gregory Gym.  

“The students I’ve talked to are really excited about this,” Ferede said. “They have been waiting for this for three years. I think this will help showcase the food truck culture we have in Austin and make campus more lively.”

Ferede said the Speedway Mall Project has planned two spaces to host food trucks. Because the southern portion of construction is complete, the first area is open on 21st Street between Gregory Gym and Jester. 

The main goal of having food trucks is to introduce new foods to campus and reduce wait time at other on-campus dining places, Ferede said. 

“I feel like it’s really convenient, especially when you live in South Campus, like I do,” said business and sociology freshman Cheyenne Valdez. “I don’t always have the opportunity to go to West Campus, Guadalupe or go off campus to eat when I’m so busy with courses and trying to get things together. Having the food at your disposal so closely makes it very easy to incorporate something that’s different.”

Ferede said food trucks must apply and be approved to serve on campus. University Unions used student recommendations to choose vendors. There are currently six food trucks approved: Kona Ice, Mighty Cone, Casey’s New Orleans Snowballs, Four Brothers, Melted and Gobble Gobble. Ferede said they hope to make food trucks available at big university events on weekends in the future. 

Marian Ecarri, radio-television-film freshman, said she eats on campus every day and the food trucks offer a more diverse selection of food on campus, such as Four Brothers, which serves Venezuelan food.

“I am Venezuelan so I rarely see my food,” Ecarri said. “It’s kind of a good thing to have around because it brings diversity and variety to a … more diverse student body.” 

 Karen Pfeiffer, University Unions administrative associate, said in an email they have encouraged vendors to consider accepting Bevo Bucks and hope to offer that option in the future.