By FELLEY LAWSON | OBU News Bureau
Ouachita Baptist University will be one of the first two colleges to welcome Tacos 4 Life to its campus when the Arkansas-based restaurant chain launches an outlet in Ouachita’s Evans Student Center in Fall 2023.
The addition of a Tacos 4 Life venue reflects the university’s momentum in enhancing the student experience at Ouachita, where 98% of undergraduates live in one of nine residence halls or six apartment complexes and source most of their meals on campus. A remodel of Evans Food Court in the student center will make space for Tacos 4 Life to be located next to Chick-fil-A; both restaurants are guided by Christ-focused corporate vision and values.
“We are thrilled to bring our mission of helping end starvation to Ouachita,” said Austin Samuelson, co-founder of Tacos 4 Life with his wife, Ashton. The Samuelsons are 2008 Ouachita graduates. “We believe we can see a day where no child goes hungry, and that starts with projects like this one. Tacos 4 Life partnering with Ouachita is one of our first two college campus partnerships. This venture is laying the foundation for people across the country and around the world to hear about how they can help save children’s lives by eating tacos.”
“On a personal note,” he added, “Ashton and I are extremely excited to bring Tacos 4 Life to Ouachita because our life together began there. We met at 15 during a summer camp at Ouachita, we’re both Ouachita graduates and we were married on campus.”
Since last fall, a team from Tacos 4 Life has worked with Jason Tolbert, vice president for finance at Ouachita, and with Sodexo, Ouachita’s dining and catering service, on a plan to address logistical and technological requirements for housing a Tacos 4 Life restaurant at the university.
“We were able to begin by visiting Tacos 4 Life at their Benton location, where we spent a day observing their operations,” said Jon Fitzgerald, Sodexo general manager. “This allowed us to see the processes for things like preparing ingredients, cooking and reheating food, and storage. It was amazing to see the operation from the very beginning to the time the food is delivered to the guest.”
Tacos 4 Life’s Ouachita venue is set to open before students arrive for the start of the Fall 2023 semester.
“Ouachita students are part of a close-knit community where they’re valued and known,” said Dr. Ben Sells, Ouachita president. “Ouachita is their home away from home, and we care deeply about enhancing their student experience here. We’re grateful to the Samuelsons, to Sodexo and to Jason Tolbert for helping us do that by making Ouachita one of the first two universities to bring Tacos 4 Life to campus.”
Ouachita Baptist University, a private liberal arts university, is in its 137th year as a Christ-centered learning community and is ranked nationally by U.S. News & World Report. Learn more about the university’s highly personal approach at www.obu.edu.