To the UC Davis Community:
Let me be among the first to welcome you to the 2022-23 academic year at one of the nation’s top public universities. For many of us, this time of year is especially exciting. We are fresh from moving in new students to the residence halls, and returning students are settling into the city of Davis once again. Our faculty are eager to teach, advise and mentor. Our staff are ready to support the myriad activities that our campus offers.
Follow public and campus health practices
I realize this is also a time that can cause anxiety. We are not through with the global pandemic, and we are still learning about COVID’s repercussions. You can rest assured that as the year unfolds, we will continue to remain vigilant about our public health and will take steps, as necessary, to address new developments. For now, I am encouraged that COVID-19 transmission rates appear to be decreasing in Yolo County, according to weekly wastewater testing and other data. To stay current with updates, please check the Campus Ready website. I encourage you to read more about our latest COVID practices, along with other news, in my September 9 letter to faculty, students, staff and parents.
Get support for basic needs
I know that many members of our community struggle with other turmoil and uncertainty nationally and globally. We’ve just launched a new campuswide campaign called Aggie Mental Health to support student mental health and well-being. The campaign is the result of a collaboration between students, mental health experts and clinicians. The University of California Equity in Mental Health program provided funding. This is another example of our overall focus on students’ basic needs at UC Davis, which you can learn more about through the Aggie Compass Basic Needs Center.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Mary Croughan welcomes the campus community back: “I‘m so grateful for all that each of you contribute to our campus through your passion, your energy and your commitment to our university community and our mission.”
Participate in campus life
As you have new experiences and settle into routines, I encourage you to take an active role in campus life. There are countless opportunities that you may find inspirational, educational or both.
For example, our Leadership Job Shadow Program is a great way to learn more about how the university operates. The program matches students to a campus senior executive. Participants get an inside look at operations and learn about potential career paths. Student applications will be accepted from Wednesday through Wednesday, September 21 to 28, on the UC Davis Leadership Job Shadow Program website.
I’m thrilled that UC Davis is leading a program for our region called #CaliforniansForAll College Corps, which allows selected students to earn up to $10,000 by serving community organizations. Through community service, students both earn and give back in the areas of K-12 education, food security and climate action. Students can apply for the 2022-23 academic year on the UC Davis Internship and Career Center website.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who found solace in and a new appreciation for music and the arts during the pandemic. Our campus offers a number of shows and events to enrich your cultural experience and keep your spirits high. One example is the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, where students get 50% off single-ticket prices, and faculty and staff save 25% on all Mondavi Center Presenting Program subscriptions and 10% on all individual event purchases. Another option is visiting the Jan Shrem and Marina Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, which is free.
We can also look forward to campus traditions like Sunset Fest and Aggie Spirit Week in October, Picnic Day in April and the Whole Earth Festival in May. Don’t forget to show your Aggie Pride by supporting our student-athletes at an upcoming game or competition.
Review our Principles of Community
Each of you contributes to our campus climate, and we take that seriously. Our Principles of Community honor our diverse perspectives, backgrounds and experience and emphasize our culture of mutual respect. I urge you to review or re-acquaint yourselves with these aspirational goals.
Please note that every member of our community is responsible for intervening when we observe sexual misconduct. UC Davis does not waver in our commitment to supporting students and employees who experience sexual harassment or sexual violence. The Center for Advocacy, Resources and Education (CARE) provides confidential support to those who need it. I hope you’ll take some time to learn more about sexual violence prevention and reporting options.
Acknowledge the land
Before I close, I want to acknowledge that for thousands of years, this land on which we’re gathered has been the home of Patwin people. Today, there are three federally recognized Patwin tribes: Cachil DeHe Band of Wintun Indians of the Colusa Indian Community, Kletsel Dehe Wintun Nation and Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation.
The Patwin people have remained committed to the stewardship of this land over many centuries. It has been cherished and protected, as elders have instructed the young through generations. We are honored and grateful to be here today on their traditional lands.
I wish you a year of new discovery and good health. We’re grateful that you’re part of our collaborative and welcoming community and know you’ll contribute in positive ways in the days and weeks ahead.
Let’s get the year started, together. Go Ags!
Gary S. May