Update on Rewards for Commencement Volunteers

Quick Summary

  • Hourly staff will be on pay status, including OT as applicable
  • Salaried staff: 1 day off for each day of commencement duty
  • Family, friends, community members also welcome to sign up

As a volunteer for undergraduate commencement, you’ll get a T-shirt, a grab-and-go breakfast and a box lunch. But the biggest selling points might be the following, for those employees who have supervisor approval:

  • Nonexempt (e.g., hourly) staff will be on pay status (with overtime as applicable).
  • Exempt (e.g., salaried) staff will get one full day off for each day they work commencement, to be taken on or before June 30.


Officials hope this information, posted late last week to the FAQs on the Commencement Volunteers webpage, will entice more staff members to sign up — because the organizers really need more help for the three ceremonies to be held this Friday, Saturday and Sunday (June 10-12). The deadline to sign up to volunteer has been extended to today (June 7). Of course, anyone can sign up to volunteer on their personal time.

Whitney Smith, director of Ceremonies and Special Events, also is asking staff members to encourage their family members and friends to sign up. “We welcome anyone from the community, not just employees and students,” she said.

“We are introducing our brand-new format, in UC Davis Health Stadium, and the more volunteers we have, the better the experience will be for our graduates and their guests,” Smith said.

Sign up here. See the Commencement Volunteers webpage for more information, including volunteer roles and the FAQ.

The new format

Chancellor Gary S. May announced the new undergraduate commencement format in 2019 — and it was to have started in 2020. Then came the pandemic and a two-year delay.

Now, the chancellor is eager to see the switch from seven indoor ceremonies to three larger, UC Davis-centric ceremonies outdoors, instead of the previous format where the each of the undergraduate colleges held its own ceremony or multiple ceremonies: three for the College of Letters and Science, two for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and one each for the College of Biological Sciences and the College of Engineering..

Each commencement in the stadium will include students from all four colleges (divided by majors), and each ceremony will have its own distinguished speaker.

If you volunteer ...

Volunteers are being asked to attend an on-site training later this week, with your choice of:

  • Wednesday, June 8 — 3-4 p.m., meet at stadium Gate 3
  • Thursday, June 9 — 11 a.m.-noon, meet at stadium Gate 3

If you missed the online training sessions Monday and today, you can catch up by watching the slide deck.

Shifts will run from 5:30 to 10:30 a.m. Volunteers must park at the campus’s Hopkins Services Complex west of Highway 113, as close-in parking is reserved for the graduates and their guests. Shuttle buses will start running at 4:45 a.m. to take you to Biggs Field next to the stadium.

Yes, it’s early! But volunteers will find coffee and grab-and-go breakfast at Biggs Field. Then, after commencement, volunteers can pick up their box lunch at the Activities and Recreation Center before taking a shuttle back to their cars.

Media Resources

Dateline Staff: Dave Jones, editor, 530-752-6556, dateline@ucdavis.edu; Cody Kitaura, News and Media Relations specialist, 530-752-1932, kitaura@ucdavis.edu.

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