Note: This was my second essay I submitted for the student scholarship contest. This was for the topic about how to improve Chaffey College. I think this idea is sorely needed. The first essay I wrote is here.
I am proposing an idea to help make the Chino Campus a better place. The Chino campus is one of our new campuses for the Chaffey College District and it seems half complete due to the downward turn of our economy. I would like to utilize the enclosed space near the main building to put an outdoor eating area where food trucks could visit our campus so we can have more of a community for the students who call the Chino campus home.
First, the Chino campus is part of a neighborhood that has not been established yet. College Park is not yet built, but there is no option for dining aside from the bookstore which leaves students to either drive to an establishment or bring a lunch from home. Rancho Cucamonga may have the new dinning commons, Fontana has nearby businesses within walking distances and Chino is isolated. Until the neighborhood gets developed I suggest that the Chino campus invites certified food truck businesses to apply for the right to serve students in a food truck park where students can order food and dine in a covered bench patio.
I know that it will cost money to landscape the area where students would be able to order food and sit down to eat. This is why I would charge the establishments a nominal fee such as 1000-1500 dollars for the right to serve students for the whole semester Monday, Wednesday and Friday or Tuesday, Thursday blocks. This fee would be used to help pay for the improvement for the area near the main building. So we could have choice and selection the vendors could alternate the weeks so they would be an equal number of serving days for the students to purchase food. Vendors can propose their food truck operation to the student government and we could have a special event on a weekend on the main campus where the campus community can vote on the finalists that could serve the food on campus.
Historically food trucks have been a campus tradition across the nation. Even UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton have gotten into the movement to provide mobile food options for their students. This idea is indeed cost-conscious for the college and would provide new avenues for small business owners to make money. We do not have money to install a portable building like the Chaffey Commons, but for a tenth of the cost we can provide options. The legality of the matter may be challenging to bring this, but if Community Colleges are state institutions we might be able to circumvent San Bernardino County laws and be able to bring them over just as how UC Riverside operates their Culinary Chameleon truck. Business owners would be eager for the chance to serve a captive audience.
Second, my improvement plan helps add life to the campus. It helps invite students to enroll for classes at Chino instead of being a second choice for many students. During good weather, the benches at the food truck park could be used for students to do their homework or socialize when times the library or the student lounge in the main building may be overcrowded or closed. This provides an incentive for students to schedule classes in the Chino campus for the same day. Instead of commuting to more than one campus, students can save travel time and get their needs without having to make extra trips.
Third, to prevent vandalism of the food truck park, I would have the area gated and locked when the campus is not in session. So when the campus is not in session or food trucks are not in operation, this area would be locked up so our investment would be protected for years to come.
I thank the Chaffey College administration and board for opening up the Chino campus. With my suggestions on how to enhance the campus at Chino, we can bring more community to the campus so more students will want to take classes in Chino and make it more of a home for our student population.