By Holden Sandal
A new partnership between Whatcom Community College and Food Fleet will bring a different local food truck to Whatcom’s campus every Tuesday-Thursday throughout each month.
Whatcom has three dining options on campus, the Orca Cafe in the Pavilion, the Dockside Café in the Syre Student Center, and the Kulshan Coffee Cart in Kulshan Hall.
The addition of a new dining service not only gives students more options, but also supports local services that are involved.
Mike Ryan, the new Sodexo representative in charge of dining services at WCC, said he was the one who contacted Food Fleet about having food trucks on campus.
According to their website, Food Fleet is a Nevada based company that helps food truck operators get in touch with event coordinators within their city.
Ryan said there is a specific process used to book a food truck.
“The event coordinator fills out a request sheet on their website. Once the request is received, Food Fleet gets in contact with one of the food truck operators that use its services,” Ryan said.
Even though he is still experimenting with the food truck program, Ryan says there’s no limit to what Whatcom can do with it.
¨Even though the program is just taking off, I think we can have a lot of fun with this, and I think there is a lot we can do with involving business in the community and get them here to Whatcom, we just have to get the word out,” Ryan said.
Generating revenue was one of the biggest concerns Ryan said he had with the trucks.
“Business owners aren’t going to set up their trucks here if they’re not going to make enough money doing it,” Ryan said.
Quick, affordable food is important to have on campus so all students can benefit, he said.
“The reason why we chose these foods trucks was that their prices were graded towards college students,” Ryan said.
Niki Shannon, whose family has owned Cicchitti’s Pizza since 1983, has been on campus with her truck for almost three weeks.
“Business has been pretty steady, of course the weather has a huge factor, but I love being here and I lived here most of my life, so it’s interesting to see how much has changed here since I was a kid,” Shannon said.
Ryan said students may be unaware of the changes or might get bored of the same food trucks week after week, but he has a plan.
“I have been in contact with Food Fleet over the last few days about setting up more food trucks to come on campus, there is a possibility we could get a Mexican food truck on campus within the next few weeks,” Ryan said.
Ryan has been in contact with Nathan Langstraat, Vice President for Administration Purposes, to come up with some ideas regarding the future of the program.
Ryan said one idea was to have a poll asking students what kind of food they would like to see on campus.
“We both have a lot of great ideas, I think if we put our heads together there is no limit to what we can do with this new program, I also think once students read this article it will help get the word out there,” Ryan said.
The opening of Whatcom’s new Phyllis and Charles Self Learning Commons will make room for more dining opportunities. The building was supposed to be completed in 2019, but due to budget problems the project has been delayed.
Once the project is completed it will be a new space for students to learn, study and eat, Ryan said.
“Nathan and I have been discussing the possibility of having an outdoor and or indoor dining area where students could sit and enjoy food from the trucks while they study,” Ryan said.
The Food truck schedule for this month is, Tuesday: Cubano Cubano, Wednesday: JT’s Smokin BBQ and Thursdays: Cicchitti’s Pizza. The trucks only take cash but there is an ATM inside the Syre Student Center to use. The trucks are located between The Pavilion and Laidlaw Center.
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