Student Senator and guest blogger Rachel Tilghman shares her quest to bring outrageously delicious, social media-driven food trucks to the Dodge College side of campus. This is one tasty tidbit of news! (Please comment with your professions of love for student government, and/or demands for more trucks of choice!)Guest Blogger Rachel Tilghman (PR/A ’12)
The quest for food trucks really started out as a more general search for any food at all. Marion Knott Studios, home of most Dodge College classes, is a fantastic state-of-the-art facility that services 1,300 students, but it doesn’t have food. Well, it has two vending machines in the back. But with ongoing projects around the clock and fifteen minute breaks between classes at lunchtime, Dodge students felt like they were taking “starving college student” too literally.
Part of the job of Student Government Association is student advocacy. As one of the Dodge College Senators in SGA, my constituents’ biggest need was food, both an important and delicious topic to advocate for. Many people have advocated for food in Dodge before me: students, staff, faculty, administration. It had been an ongoing topic since the building was built in 2006, when it originally housed a coffee cart in the back.
With the school and Chapman growing at a rapid pace, the hunger also grew. It really couldn’t be ignored any longer. Starting in October, a discussion between Sodexo, Chapman Restaurant Services, and Dodge administration began. We started by hosting focus groups of students, asking them what they were hungry for.
We got a lot of ideas, and we had a lot of options. It became clear that there were two things to tackle: the immediate need, and the long term solution. For the immediate need, we went back and forth: do we put a cart outside? What if it rains? Is there enough seating? Where would it look best? Where do we store everything?
It became apparent that the best answer to these questions was something many Southern California colleges find useful: off-campus vendors in the form of traveling meals-on-wheels food trucks. They’re a popular alternative to fast food and reachable via Twitter.
The conversation then turned to insurance, permits and logistics. Sodexo worked tirelessly with the Chapman Administration to compromise, find common ground, and ultimately, feed some hungry students. There’s no way to count how long it took or when it started, but I can promise you the finish line: April 11th, 2012, Food trucks will be available on campus.
@spudrunners, @crepesbonaparte, @bratsberlin and @calbibbq will start rotations on Chapman’s campus this Wednesday for lunch. Trucks will be located at the Attallah Piazza and in front of Marion Knott Studios, with different trucks each day, Monday through Friday. They take cash or credit, not Pantherbucks. We’re encouraging students to tweet, upload and share their Chapman food truck experience and let us know how it’s working- this is student advocacy at work, right?
Not only am I beyond excited and relieved and soon to be fed, but I feel empowered. This was something students made happen, and our university listened. It’s pretty unique when you as a student can make this big of a change in something bigger than yourself. I’m convinced that only at Chapman could you find the sense of community for support, the resources for change and the determination for success. And a mutual love of food, of course.