Dairy Bar ice cream truck rolls into Rentschler

The UConn Dairy Bar ice cream truck. (Tyler Benton/The Daily Campus)

The University of Connecticut’s school-owned and operated Dairy Bar Ice Cream Truck will be available to attendants of the Huskies’ home football games, starting this Saturday at Pratt and Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.

The truck will be located in the Fan Fest tailgate area, just outside stadium gate B near the press box entrance.

UConn Dining Services executive director Dennis Pierce said the UConn Athletic Department reached out to Dining Services and asked if they could provide the ice cream truck for home games.

Taking the large truck off campus will require a great deal of effort, Pierce said. The truck will need to travel a far distance – nearly 25 miles – on Interstate 84 to reach its destination in East Hartford, about a 30-minute drive from the Storrs campus.

Pierce also said he foresees difficulty in predicting the amount of supplies needed to serve the thousands of people attending the game.

“You’re bringing down a fixed amount of ice cream hoping that it’s going to be enough for your sales,” Pierce said. “We don’t have a history of doing this over a period of years, so you don’t know what your forecasting is going to be.”

Despite the challenges, Pierce expects the event to run smoothly. He believes the ice cream truck will be very popular among the students and alumni who are familiar with the Dairy Bar’s products.

“The old expression is that if alumni come on campus, they’re either stopping at the Dairy Bar on the way in or on the way out,” Pierce said.

Alumnus Matthew Vece, who graduated in 2014, said he bought ice cream from the Dairy Bar “a bunch” during his time on campus, adding that his favorite flavor is banana chocolate chip. He said his mother, Diane Vece, also enjoys the Dairy Bar and stops there frequently while traveling to and from Massachusetts.

Fifth-year graduate student and sociology instructor, Devon Goss, saw the ice cream truck at a community event in Willimantic last week and said it was “super popular.” Her favorite flavor is coffee espresso crunch.

“The Dairy Bar is such a unique thing to have on a university campus,” Goss said. “It really makes you feel like you are living in New England.”

The idea for an ice cream truck began with President Susan Herbst, who saw an opportunity for connecting with the surrounding community through the delicacy of dairy. It was debuted in time for the fall 2015 semester and has been in operation since.

At first, Dining Services utilized the truck in non-traditional settings on campus, such as open house or family weekend. Eventually, though, there was a call for greater exposure. One person went as far as creating an online petition, asking for UConn to sell Dairy Bar ice cream at home football games.

Freshman Partag Soni is one of the many proponents of the ice cream truck being made available at home football games.

“Who doesn’t like ice cream?” Soni said. “I think any opportunity where you can watch football and (eat) ice cream, what else can you ask for?”


Austin Mirmina is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus and can be reached via email at austin.mirmina@uconn.edu.