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Monday, May 27, 2024

Picnic Day makes its return in person after two years of virtual celebrations

The event’s theme for 2022 is “Rediscovering Tomorrow,” a twist on the past two virtual Picnic Day themes of “Envisioning Tomorrow” and “Discovering Silver Linings”


By KAYA DO-KHANH — campus@theaggie.org


On Saturday, April 23, UC Davis’ 108th Picnic Day will be celebrated in person for the first time in two years. Picnic Day is a student-run event that serves as an open house for prospective and current students. It is a tradition for alumni, students, staff, faculty, family and the greater Davis community to gather together and connect with the university through a variety of events such as the parade, student organization fair, fashion show and doxie derby races. The schedule of events can be downloaded from the Picnic Day Website. 

The Board of Directors selected the theme “Rediscovering Tomorrow,” a twist on the 2020 and 2021 themes of “Envisioning Tomorrow” and “Discovering Silver Linings” that took place virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Picnic Day Chair and fourth-year community and regional development major Amanda Portier, when the board was choosing a theme during fall quarter, they were inspired by the campus navigating the return to in-person activities. 

 “‘Rediscovering Tomorrow’ is really about how everyone is facing these changing times, but how we can rediscover them and make them joyful in the process,” Portier said.

Portier attended Picnic Day during her senior year of high school, which she said solidified her choice to go to UC Davis as she was impressed by the passion people expressed for the community throughout the day. She has been a part of the board since her freshman year, now serving as the board chair for her fourth year. 

“I think it’s been something that people have been holding on to, to look forward to as a sense of new beginnings and hope and looking forward to the future,” Portier said. “I think it will feel like a […] true community celebration amongst everyone, and it’s been something we’ve been missing for so long.” 

In planning the event, and knowing that it will be the first in-person Picnic Day for many, the board has focused on promoting what Picnic Day is and what can be expected from it. The board has focused primarily on connecting with the student body by depicting the planning process through Instagram and by partnering with Aggie Studios to create promotional videos. 

Picnic Day Vice Chair Jesse Goodman is a second-year economics major and will experience his first in-person Picnic Day this year. He said that Picnic Day 108 will be different from past years, as there will be a greater use of technology in the hopes of giving attendees a better experience. 

“We are having an ASL [American Sign Language] live stream for the first time, so people at the parade will be able to watch that as well as people online,” Goodman said. “All of the Aggies that can’t make it out to this Picnic Day for whatever reason will have the livestream as well. It’s something we’ve learned how to do from the past few years of remote learning.” 

Michael Navarro, the parade director and a second-year psychology and political science double major, described the parade as the kickoff for Picnic Day, with an Opening Ceremony that will include words from both Chancellor Gary May and the Parade Marshal. 

“Most of the events from previous years were virtual, but the parade was unable to occur [virtually], so that’s one of the main things I’m excited for,” Navarro said.

The Parade Marshal represents Picnic Day and is picked based on their active participation in the community, their positive impact on others and their embodiment of the theme. Professor and Senior Director of Clinical Pathology at UC Davis Health Dr. Nam Tran was chosen as the 2022 Parade Marshal.

“The thing I’m looking forward to the most is seeing our community of students, faculty, alumni and community members come together again,” Portier said. “Since the pandemic, we haven’t really had an opportunity like this to celebrate in the same capacity [as] Picnic Day.”

Written by: Kaya Do-Khanh — campus@theaggie.org



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