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Friday, October 15, 2021

Student leaders share about UC Davis’ virtual Picnic Day

The hard work of the student board contributed to a successful virtual event

This year’s annual Picnic Day took place on April 17 and intertwined asynchronous events with live virtual Zoom events held on ASUCD’s Picnic Day website. In light of the pandemic, the student-run board had to focus on finding a way to continue the beloved Davis tradition with all of the fun involved. When the planning for this year’s event started, the team had no indication of how Picnic Day would go.

“In dealing with so much uncertainty, one thing was certain,” said Alexis Tornero, a third-year managerial economics major and Publicity Director for Picnic Day, via email. “As Board members, we have a love for Picnic Day that cannot be shaken and we know like ourselves, there are many students, staff, faculty, and others in the Davis community who love and look forward to Picnic Day every year. Because of this, we knew it was important to keep up the Picnic Day tradition not just for us, but for all Picnic Day enthusiasts.” 

With over 100 years of hosting Davis events under their belt, there were plenty of virtual activities planned, including animal events, a scavenger hunt, the children’s discovery fair and different exhibits. The Picnic Day board worked hard to continue the fun for everyone this year, offering a wide variety of at-home activities. 

“The general consensus from our Exhibits Awards Polling seems to be that most people enjoyed Cockroach Racing, Biomedical Engineering & Biomedical Engineering Society present Escape the Genome and Biomedical Sciences Facility as well as A Virtual Fashion Show hosted by the Fashion and Design Society,” said Erxue Wang, a third-year managerial economics and music double major and the Exhibits Director for Picnic Day.

The ranging events also included live music performances, several activities including a yoga class, an exhibit on how plants communicate and a pancake breakfast. In order to cater to all of the typical Picnic Day audiences, they also held family-friendly activities. The Children’s Discovery Fair included DIY lava lamps, origami crafts and slime.

“This year’s Picnic Day was very exciting, it was a very rewarding experience to see how everything turned out after all of our hard work and planning. Our LIVE Children Discovery Fair craft tutorials went very nicely and the kids really enjoyed making some crafts,” said Jade Cervantes, a fourth-year animal biology major and Entertainment Director for Picnic Day. 

The board continued to stick to tradition by naming a theme for the event, but they wanted it to represent the events that everyone has gone through. This year’s theme, “Discovering Silver Linings,” was a fitting choice. 

“We chose this theme because despite all that has happened this year, the UC Davis community has continued to find silver linings everywhere,” Tornero said. 

As UC Davis created a bubble around the town and its civilians, people have persevered and continued on with their attempts to make the most out of their days and trying to keep everyone COVID safe. 

“It’s been a very challenging year for all and I have faced a handful of challenges myself,” Tornero said. “When faced with these challenges, I pushed myself to find silver linings in every part of my life, including the continued love and support from my family, friends who reached out constantly despite not being able to see one another, and last but certainly not least, the Picnic Day Board who have also supported me and helped me become the leader I am today.” 

The “Discovering Silver Linings” theme followed throughout the event and while the process of creating Picnic Day wasn’t the same as previous years, the board members found that through their hard work and organized planning, Picnic Day was a success. 

“Last year I learned that patience is key, which I took into consideration this year because being entirely virtual comes with a lot of patience not only for navigating new ideas to do things virtually, but to make Picnic Day just as engaging as it was in person,” Cervantes said. 

The first Picnic Day was held in 1909, as the University Farm celebrated their new dairy barn and invited the community to view it, giving away free coffee to the visitors. Two thousand visitors attended the event, but over the years Picnic Day has grown into a grand celebration and student-run event, bringing together both Davis community members and visitors from afar. 

“My first goal for this year’s Picnic Day was to focus on solidifying the great relationships that we had already built with our past [year’s] Picnic Day participants,” Wang said. “This is all the more important for us this year as Picnic Day became virtual and our only form of communication with the participants was through emails and the occasional phone call.”

This year’s multitude of activities created a welcoming environment for all those who long for the normality and excitement that Picnic Day once provided. This event went smoothly thanks to the student board who worked to put on the event completely virtually.

Tornero described the board’s motivation in creating the best experience possible for the event.

“We worked hard this year to provide a virtual experience so that Picnic Day could hopefully be a silver lining in someone’s year, something they could still look forward to.”
Written by: Itzelth Gamboa — arts@theaggie.org

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