The fifth annual TruckFest food truck festival was held on Saturday, April 22 by the eating clubs and the Community Service Inter-Club Council. The mission of TruckFest is to combat food insecurity in the local area, according to CS-ICC Chair Alexandra Hanley ’18.
This year, 15 food trucks participated in TruckFest, compared to 18 trucks , due to scheduling conflicts. Although there were fewer trucks this year, the event expected to earn approximately $20,000, the same amount as the previous year, according to Co-Director of TruckFest Sabrina Fried ’18. The total amount earned this year is still being calculated at the time of publication.
In previous years, TruckFest was held on the Saturday before Communiversity, an arts festival that is typically held on the last Sunday of April, but the date of TruckFest was changed to avoid confusion between the two events, Fried explained.
Local eateries that participated in the event included Cannoli World, Ma & Pa’s Tex-Mex BBQ, and Mobile Mardi Gras. Students were able to purchase tickets during the week leading up to the event at Frist Campus Center or on the day of the event on Prospect Avenue. In addition, performance groups, such as acapella groups and bands, also showcased their talent during the day.
Fried has been a part of the Community Service Inter-Club Council (CSICC) since her sophomore year. She became involved with TruckFest because she admired how large-scale the event is and how it involves both University students and Princeton community members. She explained that she loves how engaged TruckFest volunteers are, which could be seen in the over 100 volunteers that helped out this year.
Hanley, who became involved in TruckFest during her sophomore spring, also reported positive experiences working on the event.
“There’s nothing like working on [CS-ICC] that I’ve come into contact with,” said Hanley. “I’m going to miss [CS-ICC] a lot after I graduate.”
Hanley further explained that helping to organize TruckFest is like “running your own business,” and that she has had a “huge opportunity to grow” by working with people that care about the community.
“[TruckFest] gives students an opportunity to see how they can make a difference locally to Princeton, since people struggle to find ways to give back during college,” Hanley explained. “It’s also just a really fun event, where everyone eats and has a nice day while benefiting a greater cause.”
The annual event requires detailed planning from its four teams within the planning committee: communications, which handles publicity; logistics, which handles performance groups and day-of planning; sponsorship, which secures funding; and the truck team, which corresponds with local businesses.
“It was a blast to see [everything] come together and to see how supportive the local community and Princeton community were in participating in our event to raise money for Meals on Wheels and Send Hunger Packing,” said the CS-ICC Student Chair from Terrace, Kristy Yeung ’18.
Although Hanley reported that the event was well-advertised, some ideas for improvement included securing more sponsorship opportunities and communicating more effectively about other student events happening on the same day, according to Fried and Director of Other Initiatives Morayo Odujinrin ’18, respectively.
Fried explained that when TruckFest secured a nonprofit status some sponsors backed out in hopes of encouraging TruckFest to be more “independent and self-sustaining.”
“I would love to see that nonprofit status [allow us] to get amazing, different sponsorship opportunities,” Fried said, “so that we could donate even more money going forward.”