Students return to Davis for fall instruction, boon for businesses but parties pose risk

Students return to Davis for fall instruction, boon for businesses but parties pose risk

Photo Credits: AGGIE FILE

Clubs cancel Halloween parties, find safe ways to have fun events

The first fall quarter at UC Davis since the COVID-19 pandemic has begun, which means more students have returned to Davis. Although roughly 50% of undergraduate students are predicted to live in Davis this quarter, the increase in students has still impacted Davis.  

City of Davis Mayor Gloria Partida noted how the return of more students would leave a positive impact on downtown Davis. 

“Most of the businesses downtown operate at a deficit during the summer and make most of their profit during the school year when students are here,” Partida said. “There was quite a relief when it was known that some students would be returning.” 

President of Friends of the Davis Public Library Rory Osborne explained that Logos Books will most likely still have less business because fewer students will be returning to Davis. While Logos Books did not have any concrete plans for the upcoming year, the ideal plan would be to eventually return to normalcy.  

Before the pandemic, Osborne described how customers who came to Logos Books often drifted over from nearby shops, making downtown feel more “open.” After COVID-19, they put in more safety measures before reopening to the public. Osborne considers the bookstore a mental haven for many, especially now from the stress of the pandemic.

“There’s so many people who are sort of mentally down and out with all the stuff going on so the bookstore gives them a respite,” Osborne said. “A lot of people just enjoy being in a bookstore—whether they buy something or not.” 

Osborne further explained why Logos Books was a staple to downtown Davis and its contributions to the Davis community in general.

“We give 100% of everything that we make,” Osborne said. “100% of everything that we make goes to the public library reading programs, immigrant reading programs, [and] all sorts of various things that they are able to do because of the money that we give them.” 

Despite benefitting the business community, Mayor Partida revealed that the community at large was concerned due to anecdotal evidence that gatherings and parties were still occurring. 

To help combat this, an initiative called Healthy Davis Together was launched by both the city and the university to address the increase in COVID-19 cases seen by other college towns after the return of more students. 

“We are really hoping that we have learned from lessons elsewhere and have a really good handle on students being safe and getting the awareness out,” Mayor Partida said. “We are trying to be as proactive as possible.”

Sydney Hamren, president of Ski or Snowboard Club at UC Davis, explained how Ski or Snowboard Club was notorious for throwing one of the most popular parties during Halloween weekend before the pandemic. 

Known as the Halloween Crawl, partygoers would purchase pre-sold tickets and dress up in costume the night of the party, which would usually span a few different houses. Unfortunately, Hamren stated that they are unable to host this event this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

“Our club is really about inclusion and being social,” Hamren said. “It was kind of a hard hit [from] the pandemic because pretty much every single event [had] to be canceled.” 

Although the annual Halloween Crawl is canceled, Ski or Snowboard Club has adapted in other ways. Hamren described how they have adapted from in-person meetings to Zoom meetings. They are also planning for contactless events this fall such as free ski tune-ups and a drive-in ski movie premiere that involves a Red Bull partnership. 

Despite everything, Hamren added a note of positivity for the upcoming school year. 

“I do hope people aren’t deterred by the pandemic,” Hamren said. “[…] We do have a lot of fun stuff planned this fall and we are adapting.” 

Mayor Partida also expressed hope that the upcoming Halloween holiday would not lead to large gatherings of people as it typically has prior to the pandemic. 

Mayor Partida added a final comment about the return of more students to town. 

“[Students] are a big part of our community, and we are quite sincerely hoping that we can maintain their safety and that they are participants in that effort,” Mayor Partida said. “We hope that they are successful in their educational endeavors and that we can all get through this pandemic together safely.”

Written By: Jelena Lapuz

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