Students advocate for food trucks

When seniors Ben Pollak, Josh Rezavker and Calvin Thompson were informed that the Public Speaking class senior project was aimed at bolstering economic development in Brookline, they turned to what many teenage boys know best: their bellies.

The trio is finalizing a plan to bring a food truck to the high school on select days after school in May. According to Rezavker, three food trucks are currently in contention for a spot on the much coveted Greenough Street: Clover Food Lab, Baja Taco and Compliments.

Rezavker said he and his project members had a core group of customers in mind when they began initial preparations to bring a food truck to the high school.

“We thought having a food truck right outside the high school would give athletes or people who have extracurricular activities something to eat,” he said. “There’s not really anything you can grab to eat that’s a sufficient meal and is particularly good after school.”

Rezavker added that it was important the food truck come after school, so as not to violate any school codes or hinder the cafeteria’s main source of income.

[su_column size=”1/4″]Learn more about food trucks here![/su_column]According to Pollak, the seniors went through more hoops and hurdles than they initially expected with their project.

“We had to go through many different town officials just to gain support,” he said. “The bureaucracy of Brookline is such that everyone has to be on your side for you to do something. We had to go through two steps of [altering] regulations, one involving the Board of Transportation, which we changed, and one with the Board of Selectman, which we also changed.”

Rezavker was in agreement with Pollak about the difficulty of continuing their project.

“The people [at every meeting we went to] would suggest we meet with someone else,” he said. “The person in charge of public health would tell us to meet with the person in charge of food services. The person in charge of food services would tell us —  it would just go on and on.”

Getting the approval of various boards proved easy, according to Thompson. But actually progressing forward towards completing the project was more difficult, he said.

“It was a lot of meetings, a lot of running all over town,” he said. “Most of it was just going to people, clearing stuff — what people wanted for the truck, talking about how this would be feasible, or how that would be feasible.”

Rezavker conceded that he thought the group “went through the red tape pretty well” and because of initial struggles, became more passionate about their cause. The group, in addition to holding numerous meetings, was responsible for drafting a project proposal and, later in the process, communicating with the food trucks about their coming to the high school.

Pollak said he hopes food trucks will be a staple at the high school for years to come.

“We changed the Brookline laws prohibiting food trucks at the high school,” he said. “It’s legal now. I think it will be a very profitable location for food trucks. They will definitely want to keep coming as long as they can.”

For Pollak, the Public Speaking class senior project assignment, in conjunction with a paper reflecting on his experiences, proved valuable. If it were up to him, every senior would be tasked with a senior project of sorts, if only for their own benefit. Pollak said he sees the Public Speaking class senior project as a way to put a stamp on one’s high school experience, and a worthwhile one at that.

Thompson also found the assignment to be constructive.

“As a project and paper, it was pretty intense,” he said. “I like politics and I like people, so it was a good fit for me. And I like food.”

Matthias Muendel can be contacted at [email protected]