Community members were invited to walk the Davis Reflection Route and reflect on hope, process loss and connect with the community
By KAYA DO-KHANH — firstname.lastname@example.org
On June 1, UC Davis hosted a Davis Day of Reflection, during which the university invited community members to remember and reflect on those lost to recent tragedies and encourage reconnection with the community. There was a Davis Reflection Route through campus and downtown Davis that people could walk along at any time throughout the day, with opportunities to pause and reflect by writing messages to add to public art installations along the way. Participants could also tie yellow ribbons throughout the Arboretum’s Redwood Grove in memory of a loved one and scan QR codes along the route that allowed them to share messages online and find mental health resources.
“We’ve all experienced our fair share of trials recently, and this past year has brought numerous challenges our way,” Chancellor Gary May stated in a letter to the UC Davis community shortly before the event. “I want you to know, first and foremost, that whatever you’re feeling right now — it’s okay. It’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed. It’s okay to feel joyful. It’s okay to still be seeking answers and clarity.”
The Davis Reflection Route was made to be 100% mobility friendly and accessible from the main areas of campus, as parts of the route were along the south side of Walker Hall between Shields Library and the Student Community Center. Other stops along the route extended into the city of Davis. like the Compassion Bench at the corner of Third and C Streets, and Sycamore Park.
According to event lead BreAnda Northcutt, campus leaders have been considering holding an annual memorial event in future years to honor students, faculty and staff who have lost their lives. Although some aspects of the idea are still in the planning stage, they are hoping to make a portion of the Davis Reflection Route permanent with permanent markers.
“The Davis community has faced multiple tragedies in recent times,” Northcutt said. “But if there’s one thing the Davis community has learned from the pandemic, it’s that coming together and supporting each other can help ease our burdens. The Davis Day of Reflection invited us to mourn our losses together, to share the many ways we care about and uplift each other and to envision ways we can move forward. Unfortunately, as a community, we endured many tragedies over the last year, and the purpose of the reflection day was to come together for hope and healing.”
There were tables at reflection points along the path that were staffed by professionals and students, including members of the Health 34 initiative, Aggie Mental Health Ambassadors, Yolo County Mental Health employees and UC Davis Wellness Ambassadors. The teams facilitated safe spaces for participants to reflect on questions publicly or privately, offered support and provided resources, according to Northcutt.
On the Day of Reflection website, participants could also submit online reflections and thoughts anonymously in response to three prompts about hope, loss and community. People shared reflections about what or who they were missing and what they felt hopeful about. Under the prompt, “I can help to make people feel safe in our community by…,” anonymous submissions included “Offering a friendly face, kind word or helping hand when I see a chance. Little moments matter!” and “Being perceptive that others may need support.”
Written by: Kaya Do-Khanh — email@example.com