By Steven Doerhoff, Staff Writer

Now that we are entering the second week of the semester, students are getting settled in their new routine and beginning to figure out everything the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus offers. The first week culminated on August 25 with the Be #UMSLProud kickoff and Food Truck Friday event on the south lawn of the Millennium Student Center and visitor parking lot. The event was organized and put on by the UMSL Marketing Committee and Free Fun Fridays.

Students and staff had a chance to gather with their fellow Tritons to celebrate what it means to be a part of the UMSL community (while getting their hands on some great food and free UMSL gear.) Simply by being Tritons, students received a free #UMSLProud t-shirt, UMSL hat, and a free dessert from the Destinations Desserts food truck.

Along with the dessert truck, other local food trucks were on hand. Dishes from the Bombay Food Junkies, Twisted Taco, and STL Kettle CORN trucks were equally as popular as lines of hungry Tritons stretched all the way across the visitors’ parking lot. Bombay Food Junkies provided an eclectic taste of Indian street food with many vegan friendly options as well.

Not only were food trucks present, but entertainment and retail trucks also made the journey to the UMSL campus. Students could add something new to their wardrobe from the Fashion Vango and Moxi Traveling Boutique trucks and have some fun battling their friends in a game of Mario Kart at the Me2You Game truck. Most noticeable was the blizzard of bubbles that consumed the area, created by the aptly named Bubble Bus. The event also featured some lawn games.

Not only was this a place to get some delicious food, but it also offered a chance for students to interact with others and make new friends. Sitting under the event tent enjoying some free cupcakes were McKinley Ellis and Tess Abilock, both freshman biology majors and roommates, acclimating themselves to the UMSL campus.

“[Events like this] make you more comfortable being here and makes you feel like you’re a part of something,” Abilock said, commenting on becoming a new part of the UMSL community.

Looking around the event it was easy to notice the sense of pride Tritons carry with them, as well as the feeling of having an extended family. This can be a welcoming feeling for some incoming students who have recently moved to St. Louis from out of town to attend UMSL. Ellis came to UMSL from the western Missouri town Nevada, smiling as she sat next to her roommate and week-old friend Abilock enjoying Free Fun Friday.

“It’s a good way to meet new people,” Ellis said.

This will not be your only chance to enjoy Free Fun Friday events on the UMSL campus.  One event will be held every month throughout the semester, bringing Tritons together to enjoy a break from their hectic routines.

Next month, on September 15, Free Fun Friday: Fri-YAY and Frisbees, will be held in the Nosh offering students free fries and dipping sauce from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Many enjoyed the Food Truck Friday event. Photo by Michael Plumb/The Current.