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Food trucks unite the community and bring convenience to the West campus

West Campus officials hope to bring the community together

ASU students wait in line to buy food at the Wandering Donkey food truck on the West campus on Sept. 6, 2016.
ASU students wait in line to buy food at the Wandering Donkey food truck on the West campus on Sept. 6, 2016.

Every other Tuesday at ASU’s West campus from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., students will hear music from a live DJ and smell the aroma of freshly cooked food wafting by them as they head out for lunch that day — food trucks have hit Fletcher Lawn.

In 2015, around 3,600 students were enrolled in classes on West campus, that's around 48,000 less than Tempe campus. With food options stretching from the Memorial Union to Mill Avenue, Tempe students have a slew of restaurants to choose from. While students at West campus lack that variety, the food trucks began as a way to help provide students with more on-campus food options.

Food trucks at Fletcher started spring 2016 after students requested more food options on campus. The campus partners with the Phoenix Street Food Coalition in order to get a different food truck on campus every other week — because it was such a success the previous semester, they decided to continue the event.

David Anaya, coordinator for the Educational Outreach and Student Services, said the food trucks are a direct result of the students.

“They’ve asked for a variety of options so obviously we can’t make a fix overnight, but this is something that we were able to do,” Anaya said. 

Not only do the food trucks provide students something to eat outside of the dining hall, they also give them different varieties of food choices as well. From Mexican food served by The Wandering Donkey to locally grown organic items from Livin' Lite, students have the opportunity to test out different cuisines.

Lance Smith, owner and chef of The Wandering Donkey, caters to ASU with his food truck. Smith worked at events like Cardinals games and continues to partner ASU at events, frequenting the Tempe campus.

Smith says that having children who just graduated college makes him enjoy working at ASU, along with the big crowds and business that students bring. 

“It gives me the opportunity to be around people,” Smith said.

Because the menu is always changing, Anaya said he believes that students are excited to have different foods to try.

While eating a burrito from the food trucks, senior psychology major Kimberly Palos said they are a good idea because it brings a convenience factor to the campus. If students don’t want to eat at the dining hall, they have other choices at their fingertips.

“I think it’s a good idea just so people won’t have to go out of their way to go somewhere else, grab food and then have to drive all the way back here because that can be an inconvenience,” Palos said.

Palos also felt that the food trucks encourage a more sociable setting saying, "I feel like it brings people together because they might run into each other or have lunch together on their break."

Anaya hopes that the food trucks will help create an environment that unites the community on the West campus, one that provides an opportunity for professors and students to meet and have lunch together. 

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