Andy Jones, a lecturer in the University Writing Program and poet laureate emeritus of the city of Davis, wrote “Supporting the Outgrowers” for the 2020 Kickoff Celebration and read it at the event
‘Supporting the Outgrowers’
The student plods diagonally across the quad,
and soon stomps the water from her boots in front of the library
where she beholds the phalanxes of parked bicycles.
She sees bicycles, but imagines lattices, covalent bonds, or suspension bridges.
She is making comparisons, making references.
In her head, she imagines growing her own buildings,
or growing trees as tall as our cork oaks, stretching into the sky.
She herself has been taught to stretch, and then to outstretch;
she will lay down a marker, and then she will make her mark;
she has been taught how to grow, but watch her outgrow:
outgrow the dorm-room to laugh in the dining commons,
outgrow the silent study room to fill Shields Library with her curiosity.
She is an Aggie!
She will make the grass greener, the sky cleaner;
She will demand elections that are fair,
and grow tomatoes that are square.
She has her eyes on the farm towns, guarded by cows on bicycles,
she has her eyes on the communities where people just itch for justice,
she has her eyes on the cities and counties of California.
She will be outlandish—this land is her land!
In all these places, and in a future of her own conception,
her name will be known.
Who is she? You know who she is.
She is she and she is he and he is they, and we, we are all together.
Who is she? She is UC Davis,
she is striving, she is an Aggie,
and happily, our future belongs to her.