Last month, during Western Reserve Academy's back-to-school registration, the newest addition to campus didn't walk onto campus, it zoomed on in the form of a food truck!
Dubbed the Lux Truck, which pays homage to Reserve's time-honored guiding phrase Lux et Veritas (Latin for "light and truth"), this colorful vehicle is a new way to serve students "veri-tasty" meals. For its inaugural cruise, Chief Financial and Operating Officer Tom Arnold drove the Lux Truck down Brick Row with Head of School Suzanne Walker Buck, who passed out ice cream as a cool treat on Registration Weekend. Since then, students have been lining up for lunches at the truck, and enjoying the novelty and novelties.
But make no mistake, the purpose of the truck is bigger than provisions.
"COVID-19 turned most all operations on their head," said our Head of School. "But we saw an opportunity to be practical, innovative and joyful. And this was the genesis of the Lux Truck."
Since spring, Buck and team have been serving up new ways to connect in the COVID-19 era that brought food to the fore. The school's "Reserve Your Meal" program — launched in March 2020 — kept the WRA Dining Hall team not only employed, but deeply engaged in the community. Chef Eddie Mundy and his team prepared 2,000 home-cooked meals to the Hudson community and for local charities. Buck said, "In the time of a pandemic, every single person has experienced stress or hardship that can be mitigated, even to some degree, with a lovingly prepared meal."
The Lux Truck was the next iteration of care (and feeding), and Arnold said naming the food truck was a particularly fun challenge.
"We wanted something that was both catchy and fun, while still staying true to the spirit of Western Reserve Academy," he shared.
As a school that believes in bringing joy to education, WRA sees the Lux Truck as both an innovative way to grab some campus cuisine and as a bright vehicle, so to speak, for delivering happiness and community in a school year like no other.
"What better way to pay homage to our history and continuing pursuit of 'Lux et Veritas' than to modernize these words in bright colors and whimsical fonts large enough to be seen while driving down the road? The additional tagline of "It's Veri-tasty!" was just another way for us to express our desire to make our community smile."
And nothing brings a community together better than a shared meal.
Arnold said, "We never lost sight of this, as exemplified by our Reserve Your Meal program to our design of a meal program for the school year that identified four different dining locations, the Lux Truck being one of them."
The truck is a feast for the appetite and eyes. It's wrapped with customized yellow, lime green and Reserve Green graphics, and covered with catch phrases and humor. It even has a "WRA FOOD" license plate. Arnold also has a few favorite Easter eggs that appear in the design.
"For me personally, it is spotting the phrase, 'second home cooked goodness' that hearkens back to WRA truly being a second home to so many of our students," he said. "Also, if you look closely, we kept a few small reminders of the truck's former life as it had a superhero theme prior to becoming The Lux Truck ... it is always important to remember from where we came in order to forge our path to where we are going."
The Lux Truck will be a permanent fixture on campus, stocked with snacks and meals for students and teachers who can grab and go and then dine in a physically distant fashion. And when asked what plans are in place once the Northeast Ohio weather takes a turn, Arnold says have no fear!
"The truck tires have great tread and faculty member Dr. Borrmann's famous hot apple cider will be a welcome treat along with hot chocolate and fresh baked cookies that are sure to be a cure for the wintertime blues."
With upwards of 400 students arriving from destinations as close as Cleveland and as far away as Australia, many safety measures have been put into place to keep WRA's global community safe, healthy and well nourished. And the Lux Truck won't be going away after COVID-19.
"It will have a place on campus even when we are no longer masked and six feet apart," added Arnold. "The Lux Truck will continue to be used as part of our dining program, for special events such as Reunion Weekend, Commencement and Bicknell Bonanza, and as a welcome to prospective students who are looking to find their second home here at Reserve."
Students can look on the Student Portal daily to see where the truck is and what it will be serving, and everyone can keep track of the truck on Instagram by following the tag #WRALUXTRUCK.