Being as close to the city of Atlanta as Oglethorpe University is, many Friday activities involve off-campus events, something many students have a small interest of being a part of. Thankfully for these students, Oglethorpe University has been working to increase the awareness of an on-campus event called Food Truck Fridays.
Implemented two years ago as a non-alcohol alternative for the first Friday of the month, Food Truck Fridays have begun to attract more students with the discounted prices and local variety of non-cafeteria food options.
“We’ve had an average of about 115 students come out each Friday. That tells me that there’s a niche that it’s filling,” said Shane Pruitt, director of student engagement and leadership, SEL, at Oglethorpe University. In addition to holding a dry on-campus event, Food Truck Fridays is also a way for students and faculty to build relationships.
While Food Truck Fridays appears to be attracting a growing group of students, many students and faculty are not as informed about the event. Food Truck Fridays was originally held around 5 p.m. as an extension of the on-campus event called First Fridays. However, it was quickly realized that this time did not allow many students or faculty to attend. Therefore, SEL moved the event to 11:30 a.m., allowing for a perfect cafeteria lunch alternative.
However, even with the time adjustment in place, Food Truck Fridays is still not attracting as many faculty members as hoped. Oglethorpe’s campus hopes to see an increase in student-faculty connections during the event by increasing the advertising and incentives for attending Food Truck Fridays. In addition, SEL plans to choose a different eight faculty members each Food Truck Friday to receive a free meal, which in turn should increase attendance.
“Once we get more faculty out there, the more students there will be to be excited to come out too,” said Pruitt.
The goal is that by increasing attendance at Food Truck Friday, Oglethorpe’s campus will continue to improve its student-faculty relationships as well as its involvement within the community.
“Food truck Friday is a great way to further the strong connections between Oglethorpe’s faculty, students and staff,” said Anna Gandy, president of oglethorpe’s student government association, “Whether it’s with the Dean of Students or your Core professor, Food Truck Friday is a great excuse to have those out of classroom conversations that make student life at Oglethorpe so meaningful.”
Looking into the future, SEL hopes to have a student-run organization take over Food Truck Fridays. If this is accomplished a budget could eventually be constructed, allowing for students to possibly receive free food truck meals. Currently, students can receive drinks and deserts for free, and can win coupons if they attend SEL’s Game Room Thursdays.