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Monday, October 18, 2021

The Editorial Board celebrates UC Davis for its role as a medical, environmental leader

In addition to its remarkable handling of the pandemic, the university has had many incredible achievements

UC Davis’ efforts to bring free and accessible COVID-19 testing to both its own students and the broader Davis community were recently recognized in an article in The New York Times. The Editorial Board agrees that the university’s mass testing initiative has been remarkable, and we wanted to take a moment to acknowledge some of its programs and accomplishments. 

On top of its robust testing campaign, UC Davis Health in Sacramento has launched a Novavax COVID-19 vaccine trial. This trial will prioritize participants from groups disproportionally at-risk from COVID-19, such as people from Latinx, African American and Native American populations. The Editorial Board commends this effort, especially considering that people of color are severely underrepresented in U.S. clinical trials and receive a lower quality of healthcare than their white counterparts. 

A vaccine clinic opened on the UC Davis campus on Feb. 1, helping to expand vaccination infrastructure in the county and increase vaccination opportunities as more people become eligible. Given California’s slow vaccine distribution, it’s vital that UC Davis uses its resources to expedite the process. 

The university also started a $3 million initiative to decrease COVID-19 risk for California farmworkers. Agricultural workers are among the most vulnerable groups for COVID-19 transmission, and this program will offer them safety training and information. 

Aside from its efforts addressing the pandemic, UC Davis is a global leader in environmental sustainability—it has ranked first in the U.S. in the GreenMetric World University Ranking for four years in a row. Its future environmental goals are to become zero-waste, reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and design new buildings that prioritize energy efficiency.

We’ve also had many alumni with remarkable achievements. Charles M. Rice (class of 1974) won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 2020 for his success in culturing the hepatitis C virus and received his undergraduate’s degree from UC Davis. Two NASA astronauts Stephen Robinson (class of 1978) and Tracy Caldwell Dyson (class of 1997) are UC Davis alumni, and Robinson is now a professor for the university. 

On top of these initiatives, UC Davis has accumulated top academic rankings in a variety of subjects as the fifth U.S. public college. It’s ranked as the No. 1 veterinary medicine school in the world and has the No. 1 agricultural program in the U.S.

It also has an ongoing commitment to make its programs widely accessible. Nationally, UC Davis ranks first for diversity and internationalization and ninth for having graduates of color. Although attending UC Davis is still astronomically expensive, it placed second for Affordable Elite Colleges in the U.S. These top rankings likely helped to attract the record-breaking 105,850 freshman and transfer applicants hoping to become Aggies in 2021. 

Though our university isn’t perfect and we will continue to hold them accountable, every member of the Editorial Board is proud to be an Aggie. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, UC Davis has cemented itself as a global leader in public health and embraced its responsibility to both the students and the wider Davis community.

Written by: The Editorial Board

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