After months of planning and preparation for the event, the first annual Food Truck Festival will take place Wednesday May 15. Proposed by Ambassador of Student United Way (SUW) Elliot Thompson in late October 2012, the project has since become a collaborative effort that includes ASUCR Senators Brian Leung and Chris Salvador, third-year transfer student Jorge Serafino and Dining Services administrators such as Executive Director Cheryl Garner.
While most of the trucks have not been revealed, the organizers hope that the selections will serve as a break from the everyday dining options on campus. Both cash and credit card will be accepted at the festival while the Culinary Chameleon will also take Bear Bucks. The HUB will be closed to increase student traffic to the Pierce Walkway where the trucks will be located.
Concerns arose from a few student organizations that often sell food during the Wednesday Nooners—the same time as the festival is expected to take place. Some groups make the majority of their revenue during that time and were afraid that the presence of food trucks would effectively overshadow their sales.
“In terms of our fundraising I think its going to affect us negatively because [MEChA does] a minimum of four conferences a year and the biggest bulk, aside from the [Associated Students] through these sales on campus,” said Georgina Almaraz, who handles publicity for the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA). “We’re scared that if the food trucks come, its going to limit us from selling on campus.”
To alleviate concerns among student organizations, the organizers decided that the festival will be an annual event. The festival will be take place along the Pierce walkway.
“We ran the numbers and [having it more than once a year] is unsustainable,” said Chris Salvador. “It’s something that Highlanders can look forward to on an annual basis much like UC Davis’ Picnic Day.”
Student groups such as Mujeres Unidas shared their support for the event.
“I’m fine with the food trucks there,” stated President of Mujeres Unidas Esmeralda Baklayan. “It’s competition. There’s other student [organizations] that are having their food sale and I wouldn’t want them to shut down just because we’re selling. I’m fine with both businesses being out here.”
15 percent of the revenue made by the food trucks will go back to the event organizers, specifically for funding next year’s festival. The organizers expect that in the following years, different organizations on campus can use the event as an opportunity to contact and sponsor a food truck of their choice.
“Hopefully it will expand itself to various clubs and organizations, programs [and] dances,” said Salvador.
There are high expectations for the event, as expressed by many of the event’s architects.
“A normal Wednesday here at the HUB, they do about 2,000 transactions,” said Thompson. “So we’re expecting that to be moved over [to the festival]. I’m expecting an increase in that number just by the amount of feedback of the awareness that has gone around…We’ll probably get about 2,500 transactions at the least.”
“We literally have met many, many times to create this program and it is exciting to see it finally come to life,” stated Garner. “We hope we have created an event that will become a part of the fabric of UCR and that we can repeat again next year. Fingers crossed that it turns out to be the success we think it will be.”