In a time of stress, little is better for a person than some really good food. And on October 2nd, Student Activities Committee (SAC) organized a Food Truck Frenzy as a fun way to provide free food for students as the weekend kicked off. The event was held around campus, with trucks and tents all around the Pine Grove. All that was required to attend was registration, adherence to campus social distancing rules, and patience with the huge lines of students looking to get a nice cider donut or sandwich.
Lo Mein, donuts, and hot cider were offered (Part of the “Anchors Away” tent) near the Bultman Student Center (BSC). A Knot Spot food truck nearby carried delicious pretzels. At the top of the hill in Pine Grove, hundreds of students flocked to fried food such as cheese curds and small sandwiches, served by Taste Buds. Finally, in the rear of Dimnent Chapel, Palazzolo’s served a variety of gelato. The Anchor talked with Matt Severino (’22) from Wheaton, Illinois studying psychology, business and film. A member of SAC, he told The Anchor that if students got all four stamps from the vendors, they would be entered into a gift drawing. He also commented on the only significant disappointment of the event; the event was scheduled until 9pm, but all of the trucks ran out of food around 8pm, a full hour before the official close of the event Severino commented that “people really showed up, it was out fast. It was a really great event . . . it was scheduled until 9 but literally every truck just flew through. It was an awesome event though!”
The popularity of the event stood testament to Severino’s statement. The “frenzy” was aptly named in that it drew vast crowds, with hundreds of students in the Pine Grove. People were playing frisbee nearby, students were chatting in line, and the rush of life was the most obvious quality of the event. This did, in fact, present a challenge in terms of COVID-restrictions, with SAC announcers patrolling the event and encouraging people to social distance by way of a bullhorn. This had mixed effect, with most students were bound and determined to enjoy one of the last tolerable days of Michigan weather for the season. Still, students largely honored their commitments, wearing masks until they were at a safe distance to begin eating.
The sense of community provided by the event was much-needed and appreciated, authentic to the feeling of Hope events prior to COVID-19. The Anchor spoke with two freshman students, William Novak and Rory Campagna, who had just gotten Lo Mein from “Anchors Away.” “I think it’s a great splash of flavor in an otherwise flavorless year so far,” Novak commented in an overtly cheeky tone. “You gotta give people grace.” Campagna noted, likely referencing the necessity of hosting communal events despite the potential health hazards. When asked about how COVID has affected their outlook, Novak had this to say; “I guess we have nothing to compare it to, so it’s… I’d say it’s kind of easier for us, maybe because Sophomores know what it’s like to be here without COVID. We don’t have any reference.”
The fun and excitement of the event was not strictly for underclassmen, however. Senior Caleb Graybill, a business major who is primarily studying remotely in his hometown of Dallas, Texas, was briefly visiting over the weekend. “I enjoyed it…I got an Italian beef sandwich. As far as Italian beef sandwiches go, probably one of the better ones I’ve had! I got to meet my friends . . . It’s good to see some people. COVID has made, I think, a lot of social interaction hard so I think it’s cool that this can happen, and people can get out and meet some people so… it’s really cool.” Jake Lindell, a Senior-year nursing student (“Check me out on Spotify”) described his pizza pocket as “a better version of a hot pocket.” And these were not the only students enjoying their food.
Seeing so many people outside enjoying their free time and taking their mind off of the pressures of being a student was a rewarding experience, and the warm food enjoyed on a brisk fall evening was a great complement to the social atmosphere. The great effort expended by SAC to make it possible is surely appreciated by all of the students who were in attendance Friday. Even those who showed up too late to get food.