Food truck expo celebrates collaboration, creativity

The smell of waffles filled the air, and students filled the halls during the recent Food Truck Expo, a new component of the School of Business’ BADM 100 First Year Seminar course, which allowed students to celebrate their semester-long group project.

“BADM 100 is designed to help new students transition to college, build community and explore calling and career opportunities,” said Renee Green, director of leadership development and student success.

Students meet with a small group of peers and their mentor weekly throughout the semester, from day one – and the food truck project gives them a fun way to explore individual strengths, Green said. It also helps them find their role on a team.

“The Food Truck Expo was new this year – and it was so fun to see the students take ownership over their ideas and share those ideas creatively with others.”

Over the past six years, all incoming first-year business students have experienced collaboration, creativity, and communication, while applying design thinking, through the first semester food truck project. Encouraged and advised by their Peer & Alumni Mentors, small groups of new students work together throughout the semester to create a business plan for a food truck. Students enjoy creating the menu, design, marketing plan, management roles and financial statements. 

“The food truck expo gave us an opportunity to present our ideas; showing others our ideas gave us a better reality of how feasible our food truck was. It also taught us the best ways to convey information, so others could understand our mission,” said first-year student Drew Vaughan. “Our team grew with the expo as we saw what elements each member put together to make the entire presentation successful.”

Guiding and cheering on their mentees the entire semester, Peer Mentors are an integral part of the first semester experience in the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business. Most Peer Mentors say they remember fondly their own food truck project and how it helped them integrate into the business school.

Sydney McLeod, a second-year Peer Mentor, enjoyed seeing how the food truck expo brought her team together and taught them foundational business skills: “The food truck expo really helped my mentees see their work through the eyes of others and realize how their presentation would be received. I think it helped them begin to learn how to network and present to different audiences.”