Binghamton University students can now satisfy their late-night cultural cravings without leaving campus.
This semester, the University is introducing two new food trucks as part of a combined initiative between the Student Culinary Council (SCC) and BU Dining Services (BUDS). The SCC intends to “create the ideal dining experience for students,” by advocating for changes on behalf of the student body. The organization circulated a survey last semester to gauge students’ opinions on food trucks and determine which cuisines were most popular, receiving over 2,000 responses.
The project has been in progress since last spring after first being discussed at a meeting at the beginning of the semester. Sodexo and BUDS finalized the plan throughout the summer of 2023. Alana McKeon, the president of the SCC and a senior majoring in environmental science, acknowledged the contributions of SCC members who provided feedback to administration.
“Everyone in SCC collaborated with [the administration] to bring this idea to fruition,” McKeon wrote in an email. “We hope the addition of these food trucks will diversify the cuisines and cultures that the student body is exposed to. The flexibility that food trucks provide allows for the introduction of new concepts throughout the years, keeping late-night dining options refreshing and exciting for students.”
Before the addition of food trucks, late-night dining options on campus were limited to standard American fast food — cheeseburgers and chicken tenders — served from dining halls.
In addition to the new food trucks, McKeon encouraged students to try Quesera and Shake Smart — recent additions to the Marketplace as a result of SCC’s previous collaborations with BUDS. Quesera features a customizable quesadilla station with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free menu items, while Shake Smart offers healthy foods, like smoothies and açai bowls, designed to accommodate “students’ on-the-go lifestyles.” Both vendors were introduced through SCC’s continued efforts to bring more innovative and inclusive food alternatives to campus with the help of administration.
The first truck, “Global Taco,” opened on Sept. 11 in the Y2 parking lot between Appalachian Collegiate Center and College-in-the-Woods, featuring a rotating menu with items like chipotle chicken tacos and Tijuana cheese fries. The second truck, “Caribbean Connection,” will serve Caribbean-inspired street food and is scheduled to open in October — delayed because of manufacturing issues, according to John Enright, BUDS’ general manager of resident dining.
Among the seven food choices SCC provided in their survey, Thai street food was another top contender, and the SCC is still looking to “[introduce] new concepts throughout the years.”
Dyhana Molina, an undeclared sophomore, said the food trucks exceeded her expectations.
“Coming from someone who constantly eats authentic Latin-American food, this was better than I expected from a campus food truck,” Molina said. “The pricing is a bit high and it isn’t something I could see myself eating too often but I do recommend trying it out.”
The truck’s “featured tacos” range from $7.99 to $10.99. Sides, including tortilla chips and elote — grilled corn in a creamy mayonnaise sauce and topped with seasoning — range from $1.99 to $4.99.
Nite Owl at Appalachian Dining Center reopened on Sept. 11. It will regularly operate until the opening of the Caribbean Connection truck. The Global Taco truck is open between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. on Sunday through Thursday.