Food trucks serving pizza, fries and more gather outside the Riley Ellipse.

A heat wave hasn’t been the only visitor to the University’s campus recently. 

Local food truck businesses like Scoops ‘N Smiles, Pitruco Pizza, Donut NV and Lokal Artisan Foods have visited the heart of campus every Friday night to serve hungry college students on behalf of Villanova’s Community First Committee, which aims to provide safe, in-person events for students during COVID-19.

The idea for Food Truck Friday dates back to Fall 2019 when Christine Quisenberry, the Director of Presidential Initiatives and Events, helped coordinate the addition of food trucks behind the Finneran Pavilion after University President Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., Ph.D. announced the Strategic Plan. One year later, COVID-19 forced the University to adapt to a new environment full of restrictions. Quisenberry spoke with the newly established Community First Committee about expanding on-campus food options that were COVID-19 friendly.

“Food trucks are like catering on wheels with full service kitchens,” Quisenberry said. “It’s a great option for bringing something special on campus. We’ve received such great feedback from students.”

Erin Buckley, Executive Assistant to the President, praised Food Truck Friday because not only does it offer students a way to have fun with friends on campus safely, but it also helps generate some revenue for local food truck businesses affected by COVID-19. 

“It has been such a pleasure working with the people who own and operate these trucks,” Buckley said. “Given that it is such a tough time for small businesses, I am really proud that Villanova is able to support them while also providing a COVID-19 safe activity for our students.”

Akain Rowland, owner of Scoops ‘N Smiles Food Truck, attested to Villanova’s goal of helping small local businesses like his.

“Food Truck Friday has been a godsend,” Rowland said. “The whole team from the President’s Office should know how much of an impact they had. It’s such a great source of income for small businesses like us.”

Villanova students are thrilled with the addition of Food Truck Friday this year. Many have discovered delicious menu items they look forward to eating every Friday night.

Junior and student body president-elect Caroline Levine shared her thoughts on the food trucks. 

“I love how much variety there has been with the food trucks, but my favorite has been the Philly Crepe Truck,” Levine said.

Senior Cassie Renz also enjoys Food Truck Fridays.

“Everything I’ve gotten has been so good, but the donuts are my favorites,” Renz said.

Sophomore Bernadette Goratowski has gone to Food Truck Friday almost every week. 

“My favorite ice cream from Scoops ‘N Smiles is definitely mint chocolate chip,” Goratowski said.

Although mint chocolate chip is a delicious flavor, other students prefer another Scoops ‘N Smiles specialty.

“The Graham Slam is the most popular ice cream flavor,” Rowland said. “Students just love it.”

Charisse McGill, owner of Lokal Artisan Foods, drives to Villanova almost every Friday to satisfy students’ craving for French Toast Bites.

“French Toast Bites with whipped cream and chocolate syrup is our most popular menu item,” McGill said.

Jonah Fliegelman, owner of Pitruco Pizza, joins McGill and other food trucks in satisfying the hunger of Villanova students with a delicious bite to eat.

“Folks seem to love our Soppressata pizza the best,” Fliegelman said.

In the future, students can look forward to Food Truck Friday themes in Spring 2021. For example, Quisenberry noted that food trucks will offer more sustainable options on Earth Day. Also, Quisenberry and the Office of the President hope to continue Food Truck Friday for many years to come.