BYPPOCampus plans to change how people interact with food delivery by highlighting the power of networking.
In the primetime of DoorDash and UberEats, face-to-face interactions can be lost. Sometimes the only evidence of an exchange is a brown paper to-go bag left at your door along with accumulated debt.
Founder of BYPPOCampus Victoria Liu said the goal of the delivery service is to connect students through food, especially after the pandemic.
“As freshmen, you’re probably really scared coming to school for the first time, you know, post-pandemic, and you’re not really sure how to meet people,” she said.
Debuting this Fall, the BYPPO food delivery service capitalizes on being “for students, by students.” BYPPOCampus hires students to be “hippo hustlers” to deliver food from local restaurants in an eco-friendly way. Students are encouraged to deliver food by walking, biking or using a scooter.
“We think about just our impact in the world,” Liu said. “Our mission in the company for BYPPO has always been, ‘how do we support our community and our community really is our Earth, how do we make the earth a better place?’' Liu said.
For first-year students who don’t know their way around UF, signing up for BYPPOCampus provides an easy hustle and an opportunity to meet new people, Liu said.
Liu, 25, graduated from UF with a degree in accounting and planned on being an auditor in south Florida. Things changed a few months before graduation in 2019 when she opened BYPPO, a delivery service in Gainesville.
The idea for BYPPOCampus and BYPPO originated from Liu’s time at UF. During a Gator football game, the long concession stand lines led Liu to consider how convenient it would be to get a Gatorade or a hot dog delivered to your seats without having to miss any part of the game.
The name BYPPO is a meld of the words “baby” and “hippo.” Aside from hippos being Liu’s favorite animals, she realized many people become feisty when hungry, much like a hungry hippo.
Liu worked with Gator Business Services and Gator Dining services to create the on-campus delivery service.
Tim Bucolo, 39, resident district manager for Gator Dining Services, said BYPPOCampus’ focus on UF makes it unique. From the conception of the idea, the delivery service was geared toward being a UF student. Bucolo said he’s been working with Liu for over a year to introduce BYPPOCampus to UF, especially after the pandemic.
Among the team working on bringing BYPPOCampus to life is Taysir Ismail, 20, a third-year finance major, works as an operations intern, helping out Liu with anything from delivery bag designs to tabling events.
“I think my favorite part definitely is the idea of bringing students together, through delivery, I'd say, a lot of this is a wonderful opportunity for students to meet other students, especially when you just came on campus,” Ismail said.
Kadir Salas,17-year-old first-year architecture major, arrived at UF at the start of Summer B. He said he’s been using DoorDash to get food to his dorm.
“It's my first time away from home. So I don't really know how to cook like that. And I'm really dependent on the meal plan right now,” Salas said. “Cooking is not my thing; if I can mess up water, I'll probably do it.”
Salas said he plans on using BYPPOCampus if it provides a cheaper alternative to services like DoorDash and UberEats.
Liu said she plans on expanding BYPPOCampus to other schools in the future. For now, she wants to focus on using food as a way to connect students across UF’s campus.
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Melissa Hernandez de la Cruz is a fourth-year journalism major at the University of Florida. She loves to travel, create photography, enjoy new cultures, and is a fellow history junkie. Apart from being a citizen of the world, she also shares birthdays with legendary artists Bruce Lee, Jimi Hendrix, and Bill Nye.