The typical “college experience” was surely hard to find this year. Yet, both through student and university efforts, there were safe activities that quickly became fan favorites. One of those fan favorites was Food Truck Fridays, a Community First sponsored event that brought local food trucks onto campus. This provided an enjoyable and safe place to socialize while also providing a free sampling of different food. At first, it seemed like this event was just trying to compensate for the lack of socialization due to COVID-19. Yet, these Fridays attracted a large group of students who ended up being regular attendees, even bracing the winter cold to visit their favorite trucks.
Sophomore student, self-proclaimed food blogger and food truck connoisseur, Eleanor Dalsass, was a weekly attendee of Food Truck Fridays and had some valuable thoughts on the return of these events next year. Eleanor is totally in favor of the continuation of these Fridays regardless of the COVID-19 situation next year, as “they have become such a beloved and appreciated aspect of Villanovans’ social life.”
These Food Truck Fridays were a great way to establish a sense of community on campus but also had a local impact by involving local small businesses. Throughout the pandemic, there was a huge wave to support small businesses, which Villanova participated in by bringing these food trucks onto campus. However, this support should not just stop with the end of this year. It will take a long time for these local businesses to recover from the pandemic, but the financial support, free publicity and community outreach provided from Food Truck Friday will surely help get these businesses back on their feet.
Eleanor’s food blog (@eatwitheleanor), in which she reviews local restaurants and posts her own self-made dishes, also suffered a hit during the pandemic. She was grateful for the opportunity that Food Truck Fridays provided, both content-wise and experience-wise.
“Not only is this weekly event great for local businesses who were deeply affected by the pandemic and who are still trying to recover, but they are also a great way for students to try new foods of different varieties and cultures without having to spend money or leave campus,” she said. “As a foodie, and someone whose food blog became relatively stagnant during the pandemic, the food trucks allowed me to continue to pursue my love of trying new foods and sharing in these experiences with my friends.”
I greatly anticipate the return of many pre-pandemic social events. However, if the pandemic did teach us anything, it’s how to have fun in the face of adversity. For those who struggled making friends this year and finding things to do, Food Trucks Friday offered an atmosphere filled with food, music and outdoor enjoyment. This was a place where anyone was welcome to expand their palate or simply talk to friends around a fire pit.
Not only did students enjoy these Fridays, but every food truck worker seemed happy to be there and participate in the atmosphere. After months of going to these food trucks, it seemed like workers and students were happy to see each other week after week. An enthusiastic food truck that comes to mind is Bake’n Bacon, whose workers were constantly exhilarated and happy to serve Villanova students. They often had back-drops set up for photo ops, gave out free swag or simply joked around with students. In an Instagram post, Bake’n Bacon announced their partnership with Villanova and wrote, “We are so thankful for this opportunity Villanova, thank you again for trusting us!”
While going to college during a pandemic was not ideal, Food Truck Fridays were one aspect that improved the whole experience. I was happy to see the number of students taking advantage of this event every week, and for those who did not participate, I hope that this becomes a tradition for years to come. In Eleanor’s words, “Food Truck Fridays were something that I Iooked forward to every week, and I really think that they have become an integral part of Villanova and need to be retained next year.”