UB community weighs in on bringing food trucks to campus
Food truck vendors have the rare opportunity to pull onto North Campus Sunday for the Student Association’s Buffalo Untapped event.
Over the last several years, food trucks have gained popularity in Buffalo with events like Food Truck Tuesdays at Larkin Square in downtown Buffalo, but the Faculty-Student Association relegates their presence on campus to the FSA-run Big Blue and Little Blue trucks.
SA Entertainment Director Matthew Cosmai said Buffalo Untapped is the one event he planned where FSA granted permission for food trucks to be present on campus. FSA denied requests for food trucks at other events, such as Fall Fest, Homecoming and Family Weekend.
SA President Leslie Veloz confirmed over email that SA had conversations with Campus Dining & Shops to regularly provide outside food trucks to UB students, but without success.
“SA has broached this conversation with CDS and unfortunately, Buffalo Untapped is the one time SA can bring outside vendors and food trucks for an event,” Veloz said.
Cosmai and Veloz said CDS did not provide an explanation for why they cannot bring food trucks to campus.
“We are not typically given a direct reason, but they have their own food trucks they might want to prioritize,” Cosmai said.
CDS marketing manager Raymond Kohl said in an email that food served on campus has to be approved by UB Environmental Health and Safety, which can pose a problem for food trucks. He added that FSA-owned food trucks are looking to add new menu items in response to customer engagement on Facebook and Twitter.
When asked about the future of outside food trucks on campus, Kohl said, “Campus Dining & Shops consistently reviews menu options and venues that our stakeholders are interested in and see value in.”
Other SUNY schools have similar relationships with the food truck boom. Until recently, Lloyd’s Taco truck was a staple on SUNY Buffalo State College’s campus. But in January, the contract between the college’s dining services and the taco company expired and remains unrenewed, according to Lloyd’s management.
The University at Albany doesn’t allow outside food trucks on campus either, according to the dining service’s Resident District Manager Kevin D’Onofrio.
Elizabeth Mazzolini, a professor in the English department, said she brings lunch from home, but would consider eating out more often if food trucks were available on campus.
“I’m sort of new to Buffalo, so lloyd’s is the one I’m most familiar with,” Mazzolini said. “But, I love all of them. I’ve never had food truck food that I didn’t like.”
Maria Tsororos, a senior psychology major, said she would like to see more food trucks on campus because they would add more variety to her meals.
“I wish [food trucks] were on campus more often because the trucks usually have more fun vegetarian options,” Tsororos said.