Students enjoy food trucks despite fewer options

Krystal Miller, Staff Writer

After having daily food trucks on campus during the spring semester, Quinnipiac University students are disappointed with the lack of their return this fall on the Mount Carmel campus. 

“The food trucks were used significantly last year because of health reasons and spreading people out for COVID-19, so the decline (this year) is actually not a decline,” said Tom Ellett, chief experience officer. “It’s an increase from previous years (2019) if you take last year out.”

A student purchased a cup of chocolate ice cream from Mister Softee truck on campus. (Connor Lawless)

Ellett said he enjoys having the different food trucks on campus, but hearing student feedback on the options is most important. 

“I think that it’s a monotony breaker,” Ellett said. “Students could feel like it’s a treat, it’s something different so hopefully students could recognize that’s not something you’d find on every college campus, I think it’s something unique to Quinnipiac.”

The food trucks on the Mount Carmel campus normally arrive around lunchtime on Tuesdays and Thursdays. However, other trucks alternate on Wednesdays around lunchtime at both the York and North Haven campuses.

There are also some student groups-sponsored food trucks that are not affiliated with Quinnipiac Dining, and they don’t accept meal points.

Glenn Leonard’s Uncle G’s Comfort Food truck was on campus for the first time Tuesday, Sept. 21. He said he has received positive feedback from the Quinnipiac community and wants to keep coming back to “put the same smile on people’s faces.” 

“These guys, they want something different, instead of the same old lady in there with an apron on giving out stale chips,” Leonard said. “We come out here and we do good.” 

Leonard also takes his business to other local universities, such as Fairfield University, because he enjoys interacting with students.

Olivia Mercado, a junior psychology major, said she got a pulled pork sandwich from Uncle G’s and enjoyed her meal and overall experience. She said she would rather go to a food truck instead of consistently getting the same food from the dining hall.

“It was definitely better than campus food,” Mercado said. “It had a lot more flavor, was fully cooked and it was better tasting.”

Teresa Cetrangola, a junior history major, got a chicken sandwich from Uncle G’s and gave it a positive review. She said the university should continue bringing in food trucks because she never gets food from the dining hall.

Casey McNichol, a sophomore 3+1 film, television and media arts major, said the change of pace from the dining hall and supporting local businesses are the reasons she loves the food trucks. 

“I am a sucker for Spuds and Moon Rocks,” McNichol said. “I don’t eat a ton of comfort food, so Spuds is a huge help when I’m down, and Moon Rocks supports the local animal shelters, which I’m a huge supporter of. I wish this was more well known in the Quinnipiac community.”

Amanda Riha

Ellett said he also worked to allow students to use meal points directly from their QCards instead of solely cash at all trucks sponsored by Quinnipiac Dining for the past two semesters. 

Marithsa Pierre, a sophomore finance major, said even though meal points usage is not allowed at all of the food trucks, she would still be willing to purchase food with cash. 

“I would definitely still go,” Pierre said. “It makes me happy that there’s more options than the dining hall food.”

McNichol said she would likely patronize the food trucks less often if she couldn’t use meal points. 

“It honestly depends on the food,” McNichol said. “If I know I enjoy it, I would absolutely spend my money. I would definitely go less if I couldn’t use my meal points.” 

Students like Pierre said the food trucks should park closer to the residential areas because the line tends to be “extremely long.” Quinnipiac Dining’s lack of promotion is also another problem students think should be addressed.

“I’ve never seen them advertised,” Pierre said. “I just happen to see them pop up on campus.”

McNichol said she regularly checks Quinnipiac Dining’s social media to find the food truck schedule but is often still confused about who will be on campus.

“I wish we had more variety in the food trucks, as well as a clear schedule for which ones are on campus, as well as where and when they are,” McNichol said.

On Facebook, the last time Quinnipiac Dining posted about the food trucks was April 26. There is only one post on Sept. 2, on Instagram. Last semester, there were posts at the beginning of each week. 

Quinnipiac’s food trucks have changed the options for students and will continue for the coming years. Ellett also invites students to the advisory board meeting every other Tuesday at 5 p.m. to give any feedback or suggestions.