Q&A with the Student Who Runs Picnic Day
By Trevor Stewart
Picnic Day and Give Day are coming up on Saturday, April 21! Grace Gaither ’17, an English major in the College of Letters and Sciences and chair of Picnic Day shares her perspective on Picnic Day, Give Day and what’s most exciting about this year’s event.
Q: What made you decide to take on the huge responsibility of being Picnic Day Chair?
A: I was a freshman who had never heard of Picnic Day. I came across a table to apply to be in leadership for Picnic Day, and I got the position of assistant entertainment director. Each year I kept taking on more leadership roles and getting more involved – I just loved it! I was vice chair last year, and this year decided to take on the role of chair. Picnic Day has such a long, rich history, and I feel so honored to be a part of that, especially as we grow and incorporate Give Day.
Q: This year’s theme is “Where the Sun Shines.” How did the board come up with that?
A: The students who sign up to be part of exhibits, the parade or any part of Picnic Day are always so proud to show off UC Davis. “Where the Sun Shines” was chosen because Picnic Day shows bright, happy expressions of students who are excited to showcase their UC Davis spirit and shine as bright as the sun.
Q: Anything new or improved about Picnic Day this year?
A: We are going to have more food trucks. We had 17 last year, but we want to do even more to cut down on long lines. We are also working on making shuttles go every 20 minutes instead of every 30-40 minutes. We are also making the online schedule of events easier to read so people can look at it on their phone and not have to print it out. The children’s discovery fair is adding sensory activities for kids who want to play with items but may not want to do a specific craft. And the Authentic Aggie Zone and VIP Member Lounge in the Gateway District will offer a variety of fun activities by UC Davis Alumni and Affiliate Programs.
Q: How does Picnic Day and Give Day impact students’ experiences at UC Davis?
A: Picnic Day is something that students hear about when they get here, like a myth or a legend. It makes sense Picnic Day is what UC Davis is all about – doing what you love in a place with people who are just as excited to show you. Picnic Day paired with Give Day allows for students, alumni, visitors and potential Aggies to show their support in more ways than just attending.. It’s the perfect mutual fit.
Q: How does Picnic Day promote students staying connected to UC Davis after they graduate?
A: This event means a lot to our alumni who come back to campus. We have had many people call and tell us how they met their significant other during past Picnic Days. Some people choose UC Davis after attending Picnic Day. It is UC Davis’ annual open house, so many potential Aggies come and see this campus filled with love and happiness. So for a lot of alumni, Picnic Day isn’t just an event to come back to, it’s the place where their journey as an Aggie began and where they can get more involved with the One Aggie Network.
Q: How does the Picnic Day staff partner with UC Davis Alumni and Affiliate Programs?
A: UC Davis Alumni and Affiliate Programs and Picnic Day partner in many ways. They are one of our biggest sponsors and always have been. They support us in any way they can. We work with them to contact alumni who may want to come back to campus and attend the event. We also have regular meetings on how we can best support one another – it’s a great partnership, and we’re so lucky that they help us reach UC Davis’ 250,000 alumni, parents and other affiliate audiences.