From acai bowls to baked potatoes: how food trucks came to campus

By Grace Manthey

As a freshman in Quinnipiac University’s Student Government Association, Camilla Abreu noticed one of the biggest complaints from students was the food on campus.

Then a professor told her about a food truck festival he went to every year and Abreu formed an idea: Get food trucks on campus.

But it wasn’t easy at first.

“It was a lot harder than you think because they need a permit to get on campus and they need to sign all these documents and they need to go through so many people on campus to make sure that they have all the right documents and stuff like that,” Abreu said.

And it wasn’t just the paperwork that was a pain. Abreu said sometimes if the weather wasn’t nice the trucks wouldn’t show up.

“It’s not just like, a thing you can just drop by and do, because at some schools it is like that … But here, like it’s more regulated with public safety and everything,” she said.  

Once the food truck owner knew the effort Abreu and her fellow students were putting in to get the food trucks on campus, they became a lot more reliable.

“(The food truck owners) realized that we went out of our way to let people know that they’re coming on campus and that they’re here for the students, and students are expecting them at a certain time. They realized that it was like a bigger, more serious thing,” Abreu said.

Senior Mikaela Canning and junior Tyler Culp were in charge of booking the food trucks for the Wake The Giant concert. They said sometimes getting in contact with the owners is hard, but if they don’t hear from them after a time, they look for another truck.

And luckily for students, at some events they don’t even have to pay the trucks for the food. It’s called a “buyout.” SPB gives the food truck owners an estimate of how many people will be at the event, then the food truck owners tell SPB members how much to pay.

According to Culp, for Wake The Giant, “we bought out 150 (potatoes from the Spuds truck) for this previous concert and were given a set amount that we had pay for it.” Once the truck ran out of the 150 potatoes, they stopped selling.

And while the logistics can be kind of complicated, Canning said one of her favorite food trucks is, in fact, the Spuds truck.

“He’s always so happy to work for us if he’s available and if he’s busy he’ll do his best to fit us in, he’s also very personable. He also works with his dad who is also just as great,” Canning said.

Even though Abreu she’s not in SGA anymore, as a senior she sees the growth of her hard work.

“It was such a struggle, like calling 50 food truck places and only having like, three actually wanting to come on campus. It’s really cool that now it’s a thing that happens all the time.”