Onward California tour visits UC Davis

Onward California tour visits UC Davis

The UC system is going mobile through the newly launched Onward California program, which aims to enhance understanding of UC contributions and innovations.
The tour, which is visiting UC campuses across California and surrounding areas, stopped at the East Quad on campus Thursday, after stopping at the Davis Farmers Market the day before.
The colorful Onward California truck drew students to the interactive display, which included custom desks, a video set where students were invited to record why they value UC and a State of California cut-out board which encouraged students to sign their names onto “I believe in UC” stickers.

Gelato popsicles were offered, free to students who signed up to receive the Onward California newsletter at an iPad station.

Tour manager Christine Andrews said the newsletter is important in educating people about what is happening with UC.

“We are out here promoting awareness and support for the UC system … [and] we’re talking to people and getting them connected,” she said.

The six-week tour, which began in September, comes at a time when educating Californians about the value of UC has become crucial amid the state’s decreased funding in higher education.

The tour aims to educate how “UC has probably played a part in your day,” according to an Onward California press release.

“The University of California system has a tremendous impact on California and is truly one of the state’s real gems. Given the massive cuts in state funding UC has sustained over the past four years, growing support in all areas is really critical. This campaign — Onward California — and the mobile tour throughout California is about building and reinforcing the value that UC brings to Californians in so many ways,”  said Jason Simon, University Office of the President director of marketing communications, who was involved in the creation of the program.

According to Simon, the University subtly plays a part in the lives of many people every day. He mentions the batteries developed for hybrid cars, research that had a hand in growing California fruits and vegetables, and friends and family members that may have attended or work at UC campuses, national labs or medical centers.

Other contributions that many do not know originated at a UC campus include solar panels that can provide energy on cloudy days, developed at UC Merced; seedless mandarin oranges, engineered at UC Riverside; and increased amounts of money that is saved by U.S. consumers annually because of the federal government’s energy efficiency standards, developed by the UC-managed Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.

“This tour reinforces those messages and meets the California public and the UC supporters in their communities,” Simon said.

UC campuses that have yet to be visited by Onward California in the coming weeks include UC Santa Barbara, UCLA, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco and UC Merced.

Barry Shiller, interim executive director of strategic communications at the Office of the Chancellor at UC Davis says that as public support for UC continues to dwindle, it is becoming increasingly important that the public understand why UC is important for the the present and future.

“The approach this campaign takes — creating opportunities for people to share their own stories and aspirations — is intended to make the connection between UC and California as personal as possible,” he said.

Though the Onward California tour has only been to 10 locations, the display has already garnered nearly 20,000 visitors, according to Simon.

For more information on UC contributions and the Onward California Tour, visit onwardcalifornia.com.

MUNA SADEK can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.