On May 16, First Lady Michelle Obama delivered a commencement speech at UC Merced. After noticing the campuswide effort that motivated the first lady to speak, two UC Davis students were inspired to get a different inspirational woman to speak at UCD.
Operation DeGeneres is a movement on campus with the main purpose of wooing Ellen DeGeneres to the UCD campus to speak. Many of those behind the project believe DeGeneres‘ appearance would be a great way to attract more attention to the often-overlooked UC Davis.
Junior English major Brittany McKean and junior psychology major Jennifer Casanova are the founders of Operation DeGeneres and are very passionate about getting DeGeneres to speak for her Davis fan base.
“UCD is the lesser known UC and it would be awesome to get some publicity for our school,“ Casanova said. “Ellen is such an inspirational individual that seems to reach so many people and not only the queer community. She has a strong following from our school and being able to get Ellen to come would be amazing.“
The operation‘s main attempt at getting Ellen to speak is simply through contacting and pleading. The organization plans to send her gift items and videos “that she will not be able to resist,“ Casanova said.
Both McKean and Casanova said they hope after all the gifts she receives from UCD and after seeing all the support she has, Ellen will not be able to turn down their request.
“Just recently we sent Ellen a shirt that was a play on her ‘Laugh, Dance, Ellen‘ shirts,“ Casanova said. “We changed the words and it came out really well. We are also making her anniversary cards because her first anniversary is coming up and being able to even have an anniversary is such a huge accomplishment for her. We want to support her.“
McKean said that they have received tremendous support from UCD students who genuinely love Ellen.
“We really appreciate everyone’s support and willingness to help us,“ McKean said. “Our biggest supporters are the students who come up to us when we have our signs that say ‘Tell Us Why You Love Ellen.‘ We don’t even initiate the conversation – they do by yelling something like ‘OMG! I love Ellen … what’s this for?.‘“
Many students share McKean and Casanova‘s enthusiasm about Ellen‘s possible visit.
“I‘m really excited about [Ellen‘s] possible coming,“ said Crystel Mocek, first-year animal science major. “I saw the group on Facebook, read up about the project and got super excited. I‘m going to try to help Operation DeGeneres as best I can.“
But the question that seems to be on everyone‘s minds is: Why Ellen? McKean and Casanova said that they chose Ellen DeGeneres because they feel she can bring much more than fame to the UC Davis campus.
“Ellen DeGeneres is a humorous, inspirational, ground-breaking role model for countless individuals,“ said McKean. “She inspires people of many different backgrounds to lead better lives and brings out the best in the world. Ellen DeGeneres is a sure-fit for the UC Davis campus and could greatly inspire the entire UC Davis community.“
MARIO LUGO can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.