Aggie Week of Service
In the spirit of the theme of UC Davis' 101st Picnic Day, Heart of Our Community, UC Davis alumni, students, and friends will join together to participate in community service events throughout the world in the weeks surrounding Picnic Day. You can find out how to get involved or read their stories of how #AggiesGiveBack below:
Cal Aggie Alumni Marching Band Association
"Selecting Camp Okizu was an easy decision because many band members already volunteer at the camp and knew about the great work they were doing"
—James Barrett '05, Alumni Band Vice President
The Cal Aggie Alumni Marching Band Association is giving back to thousands of children and families affected by childhood cancer by fundraising for the Bay Area’s Camp Okizu. As part of CAAA’s Aggie Week of Service, the alumni band played at Golden Gate Park on Apr. 11 and collected items from Camp Okizu’s wish list, including marshmallows and graham crackers.
Camp Okizu has been helping families dealing with childhood cancer for more than 30 years by providing recreational camps throughout Northern California. The Camp’s mission is to provide families with support from peers in similar circumstances, while giving children diagnosed with cancer a chance to take back their childhood.
Band-uh! and its emeriti members have a strong tradition of giving back to the community. This is the alumni band’s first year supporting Camp Okizu.
“Selecting Camp Okizu was an easy decision because many band members already volunteer at the camp and knew about the great work they were doing,” said alumni band vice president James Barrett. “We definitely plan to keep giving back to such a great program.”
Barrett has stayed connected with the Band-uh! after graduation by becoming part of its alumni network. He advises current students to join organizations that will allow them to connect with alumni.
“Students can benefit by reaching out to local alumni in their college or major,” he said “Student organizations like Band-uh! have a built in network of alumni that is extremely valuable as members graduate and transition to their career”.
The Cal Aggie Alumni Marching Band Association is just one of many alumni groups that prove #AggiesGiveBack.
“There are always events and activities going on here that encourage community members to get outside. And Aggies love to give back, so the SACTOWN event seemed like the perfect way to kick off this year’s Aggie Week of Service.”
—Bridget Bugbee '13, Sacramento Network Leader
Hundreds of Aggies joined more than 2,500 registered runners and walkers early on the morning of April 12 to gear up for the Credit Union SACTOWN Five- and Ten-Mile Run, put on by the Sacramento Running Association. As part of the first Aggie Week of Service, alumna and network leader, Bridget Bugbee '13, encouraged local Aggies to participate in the race. In total, the event raised more than $200,000 for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, which includes the UC Davis Children’s Hospital.
“Sacramento is a great place for people with an active lifestyle. There are always events and activities going on here that encourage community members to get outside,” said Bugbee who was a member of the UC Davis swim team as a student. “And Aggies love to give back, so the SACTOWN event seemed like the perfect way to kick off this year’s Aggie Week of Service.”
The race drew alumni from all over the country, including Olympic hopeful and CAAA life member, Kaitlin Gregg Goodman '10 , who is now living in Providence, R.I.. Goodman and her brother, Brendan Gregg, grew up in Davis and are training for the 2016 Olympic Trials.
“I love when I have the opportunity to come back home for a race,” said Goodman, who placed 3rd in the women’s 10-mile race. “And that it benefits the UC Davis Children’s Hospital makes it near and dear to my heart.” Goodman and her brother visited the UC Davis Children’s Hospital in early April to join patients in the pediatrics unit in a race around the hospital floor.
The Sacramento Aggie Network has set the bar high for the first year of Aggie Week of Service. Bugbee and her team of volunteer leaders are already looking forward to next year.
Orange County Chapter
"It's a similar feeling to my time at UC Davis where being part of community service activities through clubs and going to events like Picnic Day gave me that same sense of purpose and community."
—Jami Koh '07, Orange County Alumni Chapter President
This Picnic Day, alumna Jami Koh ’07 will help feed the less fortunate in the Orange County area. Koh and her fellow Aggies will be harvesting food in the Orange County Great Park organic food garden. This much needed resource will be distributed to those in need through the Orange County Second Harvest Food Bank, which serves more than 200,000 people in the community.
Koh’s involvement with the food bank reminds her of her time at UC Davis.
“Our nonprofit shares a sense of community and purpose. We are making a real impact on low income families and seniors in our area,” she said. “It’s a similar feeling to my time at UC Davis where being part of community service activities through clubs and going to events like Picnic Day gave me that same sense of purpose and community.”
The Second Harvest Food Bank is a large agency with more than 300 member charities including local churches and shelters. In addition to seniors and low income families, the Food Bank reaches the disabled, families with single parents, and those with recent layoffs or emergency medical expenses.
Koh stresses the importance of nonprofit work, especially for recent Aggie grads.
“After graduating UC Davis, I didn’t find paying work immediately, But working with nonprofits gave me the flexibility to gain experience and explore what direction I wanted my career to go,” said Koh who currently works as a wedding coordinator and event manager in Orange County. “It also allowed me to give back to my community”
Koh hopes to inspire current students though Orange County alumni network’s participation with UC Davis’s Aggie Week of Service. With this harvest event for Second Harvest Food Bank, Koh is showing past and current #AggiesGiveBack.
"Being involved with Cradles to Crayons has been both humbling and inspiring. The families I’ve met were so appreciative, even for little things."
—Katie Cosner, Boston Network Leader
When a young Boston family couldn't afford a stroller for their newborn twins, UC Davis alumna Katie Cosner ’06 connected them Cradles to Crayons, which gave the family a stroller and other childcare necessities.
The Boston-based nonprofit that helps families in need by providing them with essential resources for their young children, has distributed more than 290,000 care packages to underprivileged and homeless children since its founding in 2001.
So when Cosner, who is the leader of the Cal Aggie Alumni Association’s Boston Network, heard about UC Davis’ first Aggie Week of Service, it was a no brainer for her to host an Aggie Week of Service event at Cradles and Crayons in honor of the 101st Picnic Day.
“I’ve been involved with Cradles and Crayons for many years, so of course it’s great to connect their important work back to UC Davis,” she said. “Being involved with Cradles to Crayons has been both humbling and inspiring. The families I’ve met were so appreciative, even for little things.”
Cosner's generous spirit has roots in her days as an Aggie. She recalls enjoying several volunteer events through her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, and upon graduation spent many years working in a nonprofit as a domestic violence advocate. Cosner advises current Aggies to get involved in the nonprofit arena.
“It’s a great feeling to get your hands in and work as a volunteer,” she said.
United Kingdom Network
"The thing I've noticed with UC Davis alumni in London and elsewhere is that we can be very clever and successful without needing to take ourselves seriously. It’s the ‘Davis Way’ and I think it really encourages eccentricity. And Aggie alumni keep that with them, wherever they might be."
—Soren Christian '13
Despite living more than 5,000 miles away, several UC Davis alumni in London will be running 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) for current Aggies in honor of this year’s inaugural Aggie Week of Service.
Young alumnus from the College of Letters and Sciences, Soren Christian ’13 will be leading the pack, which will include other UC alumni living abroad, just as he has been helping with the CAAA United Kingdom Network since his move abroad as an expat. Proceeds from the British 10K Charity Race, which will be held on July 12th, will raise funds for the students helping students fund of We are Aggie Pride.
"Being in a new country I was excited to join the alumni network so I could mingle with people I had a bit in common with," said Christian. “I think the group leaders sensed my excitement and they were keen to quickly bring me into the fold. I went to some meetings and started helping organize events, and somehow I ended up as a leader of the group.”
Christian began being a leader during his time as an undergrad when he served as student director of the UC Davis Band-Uh!
"In addition to being a whole lot of fun, I learned to lead a couple hundred of my peers simultaneously," said Christian, who advises current Aggies to find leadership roles to increase their chances of success after college. "As far as I can tell, you're never going to get a job without answering questions about leadership and teamwork skills. My experience as the Band-uh! student director gave me a really interesting way to answer those questions."
Christian has kept an innate pride in being from UC Davis and says that other alumni he’s met, no matter where they live in the world, have the one common value of a uniquely UC Davis spirit that unites them all.
“The thing I've noticed with UC Davis alumni in London and elsewhere is that we can be very clever and successful without needing to take ourselves seriously,” he said. “It’s the ‘Davis Way’ and I think it really encourages eccentricity. And Aggie alumni keep that with them, wherever they might be.”