Daniel Garcia/HIGHLANDER

On April 16, UC Riverside held its second annual Food Truck Festival on campus during the weekly nooner. In collaboration with ASUCR, the school was able to bring 21 food trucks that ranged from various snack foods to ethnic meals to delicious desserts. The smell of the food from the Meat the Greek and the potato skewers at the Tornado Potato to the sushi boxes offered by the numerous sushi trucks defined the diversity of food available to everyone. The variety most definitely satisfied the food cravings of the attendees as lines snaked around the lawn and people started to go food-crazy.

From a student’s perspective this event was a definite success. In comparison to last year’s festival, this year ASUCR made a more noticeable job of advertising, constantly promoting this huge event two to three weeks in advance through Facebook and fliers. This gave more students the opportunity to come out and participate. It was no longer an event people attended because they just happened to be on campus but a social gathering that people planned their day around. Good food and good company make for a great day.

However, ASUCR arguably could have implemented better provisions for shade and water for the students by positioning all the trucks under or near trees that surrounded the Bell Tower rather than in one big plaza facing each other directly under the open sky. This also resulted in clashing lines and long waits. Even if completely reorganizing the trucks was out of the question, the trucks could just as easily have been positioned so the lines moved in opposite directions.

The lines themselves were monstrosities that never ended and left students waiting for sometimes 25 to 30 minutes before they even got near the front of the line. The two parallel lines of food trucks positioned near Rivera Library had maybe 40 feet of space between them. Volunteers monitoring these lines requested students to leave almost no space between each other so more people could be added to the lines while still keeping them in a designated area of the lawn. This tactic may have worked in containing the expansion of certain lines in the space provided and stopped different food truck lines from intertwining with each other. But it sure didn’t make for happy students, who were left with the hot sun, a substantial amount of surrounding body heat and the lingering stench of sweat.

But this wouldn’t even be necessary if the lines were shorter. How? The volunteers can count off around 50 people to get in the line at once and order, then close the line so students aren’t forced to stand and wait around. Then, once the line disperses, a new line can be formed again, making it easier on students and the food trucks who have to serve them. This would inevitably call for more volunteers because you would need someone to be manning the line at all times. But this could be a good thing because more volunteers means more student involvement, which could make this event even more populated in the future.

As for hydration in the extreme heat and humidity, a simple solution can be to have water stations. Water stations can be positioned in close proximity to the trucks to keep students hydrated while they stand around in the sun for up to an hour to get their food. If students are paying fees to help make the Food Truck Festival possible it would be smart to invest in water dispensers and cups to provide water for the students.

Aside from the 81-degree heat and long lines, the event brought thousands of students on campus and united the school. It’s brilliant, really — what better cause to share with your friends and fellow classmates than food? Improving the structure of the Food Truck Festival, providing more ways to hydrate and having more student volunteers would only better the outcome of the Food Truck Festival. And since it has already proven to be a successful event there is nowhere to go but up.