7 food trucks coming to Virginia Tech as university works to feed growing student population

Hand scanners, extended hours, renovations all part of new dining plan

By Jessica Jewell - Weekend Anchor / Reporter

BLACKSBURG, Va. - As Virginia Tech prepares to welcome more students to campus than ever before, the university is rolling out a new plan to feed the growing student population.

To help cut down on lines, Virginia Tech is unveiling biometric hand scanners that will read points on students' hands to access their meal plan.

"There's going to be so many people trying to eat so just saving that time to pull your Hokie passport out or even just wait on the stairs, will save like a ton of time," Virginia Tech training specialist Kassi Schulz said.

That's not the only innovative addition this year. Nine food trucks are coming to campus. The university runs two, but now seven popular community food trucks are joining the fleet. That includes Brother Jake’s Brick Oven Creations, Big D’s BBQ & Ribs, Creole That, Fork in the Road, Nomad’s Coffee, Salem Chick-fil-A and Mann’s Sausage Company.

The food trucks will be in various locations on campus during lunch on a rotating schedule, Monday through Thursday.

"All ways of trying to help our students manage their schedules effectively so they can get from class to class to class and not skip a meal," university spokesperson Mark Owczarski said.

Renovations at Owens Dining Hall, allowing for longer hours and more meals, will be unveiled on Wednesday.

Dining hall hours will be extended an extra 6,000 hours. To accommodate the extra hours, Virginia Tech is hiring more than a dozen managers and adding incentives for student workers.

"Anything we can do to help them get their food a little bit quicker, a little bit more efficiently, but still offer them great variety and great healthy choices, all the better," Owczarski said.

"Virginia Tech is 100% here for the students and I feel like they're always constantly worrying about how they can make our lives even better," Virginia Tech student Klaus Haraldsson said.

Virginia Tech serves approximately 18,000 students with meal plans a year. That comes out to 40,000 to 45,000 meals served every day.

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