TRUSU will be hosting the Hungry for Choice Food Truck Festival tonight at 6 p.m.
Michael Zaitlin, chair of the Student Caucus, said the festival is part of a campaign that was born out of need for change and diversity in food on campus.
The focus of the campaign is to show what campus would be like with more competition for food.
“[It] will provide students and the campus community members a taste of what choice in campus food services could be like,” Zaitlin said.
“Last year we held our annual student budget consultation and it identified student food services as the top priority. We found the lack of choice due to the exclusive contract was the main concern of students. [The festival will] show what campus life could be like if TRU was to introduce competition to the food services rather than an exclusive contract model,” Zaitlin said.
Aramark is the current contractor that holds all of the control for food services on campus. Zaitlin said that the university has had a sole provider for food services due to multi-year contracts that are put in place. However, this is what the campaign and event hope to put an end to.
“We believe that sole providers usually eliminate the incentives to provide better services and students feel like they can’t take their business elsewhere,” Zaitlin said.
Without competition in place, Zaitlin feels that a sole contractor like Aramark will not necessarily provide the best possible experience for students on a day-to-day basis. The results of the festival and the amount of support received for the coinciding petition will ultimately rely on the student population to step up and fight for change.
TRUSU hopes that if the response to the campaign is strong enough, the university can move forward with new initiatives. Zaitlin believes that if more vendors are introduced to the daily menu on campus, it will be a positive change for everyone.
“We’ll move that towards having a sole provider push toward a competition model, which will require the sole provider and multiple provider toward trying to win student business,” Zaitlin said.
A portion of the sales from each vendor at the festival will be donated to the Kamloops Therapeutic Riding Association to raise money for people with disabilities and at-risk youth programs. The food truck festival will lead into TRUSU’s Outdoor Movie Night event, which starts at 7:30 p.m. The festival will commence at 6 p.m. and TRUSU is advising students to bring cash, as not all of the vendors will accept debit or credit.