Of all the possible franchises to bring to UBC, nothing gets students more riled up than the idea of a Chipotle on campus. The beloved Mexican grill restaurant has multiple locations throughout Metro Vancouver — including two downtown, one in Metrotown and another in West Vancouver — but none of them are convenient for UBC students looking for a quick burrito between classes. Sure, there are three other Mexican food restaurants on campus, but none of them get anywhere near the same amount of fervor that Chipotle gets.
As is common in this day and age, students have taken to the internet to voice their demands. Whether they’re confronting Santa Ono about it or simply throwing all-caps tantrums on Reddit, students are letting the world know what they want for their university — and what they want is Chipotle.
The first internet-documented mention of a Chipotle at UBC came about on February 22 2016, when someone anonymously posted on UBC Confessions that her mother, who works at Chipotle, “almost guaranteed” her that “Chipotle plans to open up on UBC Campus in September of 2016.” The post got over 1,900 reacts and 446 comments, with students frantically tagging their friends about the good news.
Two days later, former student senator Gurvir Sangha made a lengthy post on the Facebook campaign page for former Board of Governors student representative Veronica Knott, in which he said Knott gave him the go-ahead to tell people that it was her who made the post.
“[H]er momma is a big wig at Chipotle and if she’s elected, everyone will be getting free guac with their first order,” he said.
Knott did not comment on the post, but she did heart-react it.
September eventually came, but it brought no Chipotle with it. A UBC Confessions post in October of that year summed up the mood:
In February 2017, UBC rubbed some salt in the wound and announced that 12 new food spots were opening on campus, none of which bore the name Chipotle. Instead we got TacoMio, whatever that hell that is. The announcement prompted someone on r/UBC to ask the all-too important question: “Where is Our Chipotle?”
And thus began r/UBC’s obsession with bringing Chipotle to UBC. On August 18 2017, Reddit user u/mooosies started a “FANTASY FRIDAY” thread, in which users had to create a plan to convince Chipotle to open up a UBC location. They also instated a “CAPSLOCK MANDATORY” rule, because nothing beats screaming into the void on the internet.
As you can imagine, people had witty responses.
When it was announced that Santa Ono would be doing an AMA [Ask Me Anything] on the subreddit a few days later, people quickly congregated to ask him about Chipotle. When u/mooosies posed the question — which earned more upvotes than any other post in the thread — Ono gave a not-exactly-promising response.
A month later, AMS President Alan Ehrenholtz held an AMA and was posed the same question. He said that “there are no plans to bring a chipotle to campus” and then proceeded to plug Iwana Taco, the Mexican fast food restaurant that had just opened in the Nest. We all know Iwana Taco is good, but — well, it isn’t Chipotle.
On October 28 2017, an economics student posted in r/UBC asking about students to fill out a survey in order to measure the support for a campus Chipotle. If this was for a class project, they picked a good topic to measure, given the high amount of upvotes they got.
Over two years after the original UBC Confessions post about a campus Chipotle, students are still as passionate about the idea as ever. In a recent thread with the memorable all-caps title of “CHIPOTLE @ UBC.. PLEASE?,” users continued to fawn over the idea, while a few others weighed it against other Mexican fast food restaurants.
One person claimed that UBC approached Chipotle for a campus location, who then declined when the university asked for it to be run by UBC Food Services. However, he provided no source — and if there’s anything to learn from this crusade, it’s that you shouldn’t always trust things that anonymous people write on the internet.
Here at The Ubyssey, we’ve made some references to a campus Chipotle as well. Amidst the absolute dumpster fire that was the closure of Qoola, we suggested a campus Chipotle as a more interesting replacement for the failed frozen yogurt place than an RBC.
Likewise, we also suggested in a later article that AMS election candidates ought to “up the stakes” with their platforms by bringing either Drake or Chipotle to campus. When the opening of a fast food restaurant on campus can sit alongside a visit from one of the most famous Canadian musicians of the millennium as a suggestion, you know it’s a big deal.