Picnic Day board of directors ‘discover silver linings’ in planning

Picnic Day board of directors ‘discover silver linings’ in planning

Photo Credits: Kaitlyn Pang / Aggie

2021 board shares preparations for the event

Every Spring Quarter, UC Davis students and community members gather to celebrate Picnic Day. The day is filled with events for the public to enjoy and has stood as a UC Davis tradition for over 100 years. Last year, Picnic Day operations quickly shifted online due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, transforming the usual in-person activities of the day to a solely virtual experience. In 2021, Picnic Day is scheduled to be online once again due to the public health concerns an in-person event would present. With the help of the Picnic Day board of directors, which is made up of eight student directors and surrounding assistant director teams, the event is set for April 17.  

Jade Cervantes, a fourth-year animal biology major and entertainment director of the Picnic Day board of directors, explained the decision behind this year’s theme: “Discovering Silver Linings.”

“The board of directors decided on this theme because we wanted to highlight the fact that, despite everything we have been going through this year, we still try to find the silver lining in everything we can,” Cervantes said via email. “Maintaining an inspiring and hopeful attitude during these tough times can lead to new beginnings.”

The board meets every week to discuss objectives and bond further as a team. Caitlyn Liu, a fourth-year English and communication double major and chair of the Picnic Day board of directors, shared her experience planning and meeting online. 

“We are constantly coming up with ideas on how we can make this year great, but also evaluating what’s realistic with the resources and time that we have,” Liu said via email. “It’s definitely a different experience from previous years but still fun nonetheless.”

Amanda Portier, a third-year community and regional development major and the vice chair of the Picnic Day board, reflected on the quick adaptation to an online format last year in order to protect the health of the Davis community.  

“There was great communication between the board and all our partners, both on and off campus, and lots of creativity and dedication to bring the virtual format together,” Portier said via email. “We transformed our typical merchandise sales to a fundraising event for [UC Davis] Health which was very successful.”

In terms of improvement this year, the board aims to have new content and expand their merchandise line. Above all, they hope to create a Picnic Day that maintains the spirit of the event. 

“You can’t replace an in-person experience, but we’re working to convert as many Picnic Day traditions as possible to an online format,” Portier said via email. “We hope that this brings new and old students a day where they can explore their Davis community, learn new things, have fun and feel proud to be an Aggie. The virtual format is also a unique opportunity for students living off campus to share Picnic Day with household members who may not have been able to attend an in-person event.”

Some students already are looking forward to taking advantage of the event. Andrea Navarrete, a fourth-year cell biology major, decided she will attend Picnic Day 2021 during her final year at UC Davis. 

“I do want to go just because it’s my last year and I don’t know when I’ll be back in Davis,” Navarrete said. “I think I definitely want to check it out. I’m sure that they’ve been able to accommodate, and everyone’s been used to being online now so it’s not going to be as weird.”

Cervantes encouraged anyone who is hesitant about an online Picnic Day to give it a chance. 

“Just do it,” Cervantes said via email. “It is just as exciting as the in-person event, and now even more people from around the world can attend. We are bringing a lot of new and more creative ideas to Picnic Day this year and we would love for everyone to sign on and join in on the fun. It will be a Picnic Day you will never forget.”

Written by: Nora Farahdel — features@theaggie.org