By Sean Callahan
SVC has been exploring a new avenue for bringing variety to campus during the pandemic: special dining events. Weekly food offerings outside the library and Carey Center, have included tacos and breakfast burritos.
But on Nov. 4, two food trucks drew the attention of hundreds of students. Amid a light breeze and blazing sun, they gathered in long lines from 11 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., ordering from their choice of Miss Meatball—a meatball food truck—or Just Roll'd Up—a Street Sushi and Poke food truck.
Keila Lobos-Hernandez, a senior English major and a work study for Campus Life, was asked to help with the food truck event that day.
“I had to do things such as assist in verifying student IDs and help hand out the 10-dollar coupons for the food trucks,” she said.
Lobos-Hernandez believes that more than 370 students purchased from the food trucks on Nov. 4. And the appearance of two more food trucks on Nov. 11 brought more students, despite the rain.
Kathleen Pantalone, director of Event and Conference Services, explained the premise behind the weekly food truck additions.
“Because there are so many things that we can’t do because of the pandemic, we decided to focus on what we can do,” she said.
Jamie Ballew, senior general manager of dining services, did not respond to The Review’s request for comment on the food truck appearances. But Pantalone explained that the Event and Conference Services office booked the food trucks for three Wednesdays in November. She said that Parkhurst, the executive provider of dining services on campus, provided the go ahead to allow the food trucks on campus.
Pantalone added that Parkhurst worked with Saint Vincent College to formulate a plan for November dining events, including specialties in the community center on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays.
From a student perspective, Lobos-Hernandez feels the campus will benefit from the weekly appearance of the food trucks, should the COVID-19 restrictions continue to allow it.
“It adds variety to what students can eat on campus,” Lobos-Hernandez said. “It is a really nice incentive considering how stressful the semester has been due to COVID.”
However, Pantalone explained that because the situation with the pandemic is constantly changing, predicting the future appearances of the food trucks—or what the next semester will bring—is difficult.
“The time frame for planning any events on campus has been shortened from months to weeks, sometimes days,” Pantalone said. “As people make requests for events, we are evaluating them and suggesting ways they can be altered to fit the Campus Health and Safety Plan instead of denying their requests.”
But despite the uncertainty of the spring semester, Pantalone encourages any club or organization to submit event ideas, in hopes that Saint Vincent can remain a fun and safe environment for students.
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