Food Truck event and competition provides options

Community Advisors Ryder Hathaway, Quentin Barthe, Christian McMillan and Dalton-Jesse Cummins are ready to serve food at their "Green Goblin" food truck Aug. 31. 

The chatter of 100 excited voices reverberated within the temporary vinyl walls of Castleton University’s pavilion and the air hung heavy with the smell of fryer grease. Intermittent gusts of wind wafted the scent of fried batter, melted cheese, and crispy chicken toward the dorms, drawing even more students closer.

More than an hour after the Aug. 31 event began, there was still a line, albeit short, of excited students waiting for the opportunity to get inside and try the tasty and unhealthy treats that their community advisors had prepared.

Not only did the “food trucks” supply an artery-clogging escape from Huden, they also served to introduce students to the new and returning CAs, who will be writing them up for the rest of the year.

Upon entering the pavilion, each student was given a ticket that they could use to vote for the best “truck,” taking quality of food, design and theme into consideration. 

The “food truck” event was hosted by the Residence Life Department in conjunction with Sodexo and was masterminded by Sodexo General Manager Rob MacFarlane.

Hoping that students would enjoy a change of pace from Huden and Fireside, he reached out to Shaun Williams in Residence Life in attempt to organize a new and exciting event.

Inspired by television programs like “Cupcake Wars,” Williams decided to give the dormitory CAs a challenge during training. They would be responsible for forming teams, creating a theme and menu, and decorating a sign that would serve as the visual representation of their non-existent trucks. While the CAs did assist with basic prep work, all of the cooking was done by the Sodexo staff from Huden.

This massive relocation of Huden employees led to the dining hall being closed for the evening, which upset some students. Senior Peter Michelsen did not attend the event in the pavilion and said he didn’t even know that it was taking place.

“When I saw Huden was closed, I got pissed and stormed off,” he said.

Camille Stengel excitedly holds her plates of food including cupcakes and chicken wings from various food trucks. 

The same sentiment was echoed by senior Vincent Guerrera, who was also unhappy that Huden was closed for the evening. It wasn’t until he mentioned to a group of friends that Huden had been closed that he learned of the food truck event. Guerrera said if a similar event were to be held in the future, both Residence Life and Sodexo “should promote it better, have some music, and don’t close Huden.”

“It also seemed like all they were serving was dessert, there should have been some real food,” he said.

In actuality, there were six booths in total, only two of which were serving dessert food.

Despite the lukewarm reaction from some students, many of whom appeared to be most upset that Huden was inexplicably closed, others were very excited about how the event went.

Senior Dalton-Jesse Cummins, one of the servers and menu designers at the “Green Goblin” food truck, thought the event went over well.

“It was a really cool idea. I would love to do it again in the future … It was a cool idea to get people out of Huden and the variation was really nice,” he said.

He did, however, see how some students may have been less than happy. Despite the variation, selections were still far more limited than in Huden.

But junior Jenna Goldsnider thought that the event went over fantastically. She said students “really enjoyed something different.”

“Huden can get mundane when you’re eating three meals a day there,” she said.

She also felt that a fortunate side effect of serving food to students is that it cemented the CAs as authority figures.

“Even if people living in my dorm don’t know my name, they seem more willing to come up to me and ask me questions now,” she said.

Goldsnider also felt that “the pavilion is such a great venue and it seems to never get used by the college, despite being the perfect size for things like this.”

While no particularly similar event is planned for the near future, Residence Life does have numerous events planned throughout the year. And Williams said he isn’t sure if another such food truck night would be held, saying he likes to keep coming up with new events so that students didn’t get bored with recycled ideas.

He was, however, receptive to the idea of having similar events, although he acknowledged that it would not be possible without the input and help of Sodexo.

The winner of most popular food truck was “Wing Stop,” with 135 votes. The runner-up was “Totally Tacos” with 133 votes, followed by the “Green Goblin” in third place with 127 votes.

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