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‘Food Truck Fridays’ bring diverse menu options

By Demetrius Dillard
On May 2, 2016

Winston-Salem State introduced “Food Truck Fridays” as part of an objective to create a more diverse, interactive and enriching environment for the campus. 

They began April 1 and will operate in the Diggs Gallery parking lot every Friday for the remainder of this academic year, April 29.

Approximately 2,000 people patronized the food trucks on opening day.
The customersincluded: students, faculty, staff, local residents and 
visitors for Spring Open House, according to an April 3 article
in the Winston-Salem Journal
. Photo Credit: Nick Carter

In addition, the trucks’ presence on campus creates a platform for faculty and students to socialize and mingle. Kanesha Leak, the student activities and athletics liaison, is the “Food Truck” organizer. 

Leak is also a member of the Campus Culture Committee.

“We thought that it would be a good idea to diversify foods on campus,” said Leak, a 2013 graduate.

“So the goal is to have different types of food here, other than the Popeye’s, Subway, [and] the things you always get,” she said. 

Leak said the food trucks aren’t or won’t be a threat to the eateries spread throughout campus.

“I don’t think it [food trucks] will threaten business for them [other campus eateries] because a lot of students may not have the funds to pay for this or they may not just want what’s out here.”

Leak said she started contacting a variety of food trucks throughout Triad. 

The truck vendors’ fee was waived on the kick-off day.
But every following Friday there will be a vendor fee, which will go to student to support student scholarships through the Office of Business and Auxiliary Services. 

In the week following the first Food Truck Friday, the committee received positive feedback, Leak said.

“We got a little slack from people saying it may be taking away from Aramark or their facilities, but we’re trying to make sure that everyone is happy,” Leak said.

“So we want to make sure that people don’t have to go off campus and waste their gas to go try to find somewhere to park to buy food. We’re bringing the food to them.”

Tiffany Seawright, the assistant director of University Recreation and co-chair of the Campus Culture Committee, said she and her committee explored different options for the campus community to network.

“The idea came about just trying to get people out and about on Friday, interacting with each other and just having a good time,” Seawright said. 

“This month [April] is our test month, and we’re going to do it every Friday, but hopefully if it goes well and we get approval and we’ll offer it [food trucks] every first Friday throughout the next year,” she said.

Will Boone, English Department chair, talked about significance of food trucks.

“I think the food truck culture is a good idea in terms of community engagement [and] community access, but I think it’s also needed in a place like North Carolina, where sometimes food establishments are not accessible for students – so students don’t always have an option,” he said.

Boone, a native of Newark, N.J. said he is accustomed to food trucks and they play an integral part in the cultural aspects of any environment.

April 1, there were five food trucks parked outside of Diggs Gallery: Fish N’ Wings of Greensboro; King Queen Haitian Cuisine of Greensboro; Ghassan’s Restaurant of Greensboro; Spice Delight Mobile Café of Winston-Salem
and, Kona Ice of Kernersville.

According to an April 3 Winston-Salem Journal report, about 2,000 people patronized the businesses that day, which included students, faculty, staff, local residents and visitors from the Spring Open House.

The report by the Journal also noted that WSSU isn’t the only college or university in the area which has brought food trucks onto its campus: Wake Forest and UNC School of the Arts has arranged for food trucks to visit their campuses as well.

Stephon Cunningham, the chef and owner of Fish N’ Wings, said his food truck was fairly busy on the two days it opened (April 1 and April 8), and liked the interaction he had with customers. 

Jessica Davis said, “The chicken is really good – and the fries – and it’s better than eating the same things we eat all the time, like DJR [Donald Julian Reaves’ food court] and the cafe, so it’s something different.” 

Davis is a sophomore mass communications major from Charlotte and patronized the food trucks on two different Fridays. She said liked that she could purchase a goodsized plate at an inexpensive price.

“I think it’s a good idea. I think it’s exciting and bring something new to the campus,” she said.

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