Views expressed in opinion columns are the author's own.
In my post-meal plan years, eating lunch on the campus usually meant Stamp Student Union. For so many meals, I ate chicken sandwiches that filled me with grease and regret. I went to Moby Dick just because it felt good to have someone ask how my day was going. I ignored the fact that the only good thing about Panda Express is the smell. Again and again, I ate lunch in Stamp without thinking twice.
But then I discovered another way.
From Monday to Friday, between the hours of 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., salvation is parked nearby. I'm speaking, of course, about the Green Tidings food truck, which made its debut in 2013.
If you haven't visited, the truck features sustainable food from local vendors and a menu that changes on a biweekly basis (yes, it's the bad kind of biweekly, but still). The menu isn't large, but it doesn't need to be. You can find soups, salads, fries, delicious entrees such as braised lamb sandwiches and, of course, half and half.
There's a litany of reasons why Green Tidings is worth supporting. It buys food from certified humane vendors, provides recyclable or compostable packaging and donates any unused product to the Food Recovery Network.
But, honestly, none of this goes through my mind as I am ordering. The desire for good food is what moves me to order at that hole where the passenger side door should be. The moments spent waiting for my order, trying to hear my name called above the music they continually blast, are pure anticipation. And I'm no food critic, but the meal that follows is always delicious.
My love of Green Tidings goes deeper than its ability to appease my taste buds, though. I think it's simply the feeling of something different. My college body is so used to fast food and hastily prepared Ramen that any fresh ingredient can create a neurological response. Perhaps in a few years I will have matured into a competent adult, able to cook for myself and maintain a balanced diet. Maybe I'll visit campus and stroll right by the Green Tidings truck without looking back. But for now, I remain vulnerable to its charms.
I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that Green Tidings has its flaws and limitations. Does the university need to lower the price of this healthier option? Undoubtedly. Does Dining Services need greener and cheaper meal plans? Of course. Does the city of College Park need to address the fact that we are living in a food desert? You bet. But in the meantime, we've got this green truck.
Jack Lewis is a senior government and politics major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.