A Full Day Sept. 23: RecFest and Fall Welcome

An arch with a sign that reads "welcome to UC Davis."
New students can run through this arch after the Fall Welcome event to officially mark the beginning of their time at UC Davis. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

Everyone in the campus community is invited to two big events Monday, Sept. 23: RecFest, celebrating renovations of the Activities and Recreation Center and Rec Pool; and then Fall Welcome, ringing in the new academic year.


The UC Davis Rec Pool.
The new Rec Pool (actually two pools!) opened in June.
  • WHAT: RecFest
  • WHEN: Monday, Sept. 23, 10 a.m. at the ARC, 11:30 a.m. at the Rec Pool


All of the events are free and open to all — students, staff, faculty, the community — and include free dinner at the end of the day.

The first event is RecFest, a pair of grand opening ceremonies, first at the ARC, with Chancellor Gary S. May giving remarks, and then at the Rec Pool. RecFest will feature DJs, refreshments and giveaways, and the installation of a new Founders Wall celebrating the UC Davis leaders whose work and innovation contributed to Campus Recreation. John Campbell, who previously served as executive director of Campus Recreation, will be added to the wall.

Campus Rec will showcase expanded and renovated areas at the ARC, and visitors will have the opportunity to try the equipment, receive free workout plans, and learn how to try ARC classes or play on rec sports teams. Across La Rue Road at the Rec Pool, Campus Rec will serve ice cream and other snacks. And of course, bring your swim suit and go for a dip!

The ARC reopened in March after a 20-month project that added 20,000 square feet of space, along with more natural light, strength-training and functional equipment, updated cardio machines, an outdoor fitness yard and more.

The Rec Pool saw a complete overhaul that began in late 2017 and replaced the old pool with two new pools: one for year-round competition and one for seasonal recreation. They opened June 10 with renovated locker rooms and new gender-inclusive restrooms, along with two new amenities: Wi-Fi coverage and a beach volleyball court.

More information about RecFest is available on Facebook.

Fall Welcome to encourage Aggies to be heroes

Chancellor Gary S. May and his wife, LeShelle.
Chancellor Gary S. May, with LeShelle May, wore his Aggie Heroes shirt under his suit, Superman style, in 2018. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

You’ll have just enough time to take a quick break before the next big event of the day: Fall Welcome, first held in 2018 and combining the university's previous traditions of convocation and New Student Welcome.


Rendering of T-shirts that will be given away at Fall Welcome
Got your ticket? Get a T-shirt: All attendees will receive one of these Aggie Heroes T-shirts.

This event is free, but tickets are required (limit two per person), for everyone except students (although they should bring ID). Tickets are available as follows:

  • Online (You will need to set up an account with the UC Davis Ticket Office if you do not already have one.)
  • Phone — 530-752-2471
  • In person — At the ticket office, open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday, UC Davis Health Stadium North.

On the day of the event, bring a copy of your email confirmation and your ID to The Pavilion if you have trouble printing tickets.

The program includes student performers, DJ Lady Char and free T-shirts.

The theme of this year’s Fall Welcome — “Aggie Heroes: For the Better” — continues the one introduced last year: some of last year's Aggie Heroes will speak, giving tips and encouragement on how anyone can perform small acts of heroism to help make the world a better place.

Speakers will include Valencia Scott, who is double-majoring in anthropology and international relations; Emily Merchant, a professor of Science and Technology Studies; recent graduate Awais Khan and molecular and cellular biology major Chun Kit Ho; and John James, a nurse in the surgical intensive care unit at the UC Davis Medical Center.

Chancellor May and Davis Mayor Brett Lee will give welcome remarks. Emcee duties will be handled by Rebecca Calisi Rodríguez, associate professor of neurobiology, physiology and behavior.

Afterward, make your way to Hutchison Field right outside The Pavilion, where new students can pass under the official welcoming arch, and everyone can browse the New Student Resource Fair.

Hutchison Field is also your dinner venue: Choose a free meal from one of many food trucks that are coming in. You’ll receive a wristband (along with a free T-shirt) upon entering The Pavilion at the start of the Fall Welcome, and that same wristband can be redeemed for a meal.

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