By Jim Thomaston, President, Aggie Parent and Family Council
Have you seen them? They are smiling, helping, providing directions, answering questions, telling their stories, participating on panels and making sure the Aggie spirit is everywhere. Our family lives about eight hours away from UC Davis and they welcomed us with open arms and made us feel part of the family. At first, we faced choosing the right university. Then we needed help feeling comfortable. Eventually we wanted to know how to participate and engage in our daughter’s transition and new life. They were there in-person and at special events. They were there, virtually, when we couldn’t get together face-to-face. They were always there to help and support us.
Who are these amazing people with a passion to give back and support our Aggie families? They are UC Davis Parent Ambassadors. With our campus coming back to life and the prospects of a much more normal campus life in the fall, it brought back the warmth and gratefulness for the many people who have touched our UC Davis journey, including the parent volunteers who have been at the core of our experience. These parent volunteers help accepted students and families at Decision Day (Aggie Experience Live! this year), host new student Send Offs from their homes, support families and sit as panelist at Orientation, assist during Move-In, participate in virtual Coffee Talks, work booths at the Picnic Day (the largest student run event in the nation) and much more.
I think the most amazing thing about our UC Davis Parent Ambassadors is that they are normal parents from all over the state, country and world who just want to share their personal UC Davis experience and help others. Recently I met Sophia, who lives in Taiwan, and her daughter is a freshman at UC Davis. Sophia wanted to volunteer to help other out-of-state parents like herself who may face challenges connecting with other parents or simply being a part of her daughter’s college life. I’ve also been fortunate enough to meet parents like Pam and Jeff who started as students themselves and stayed connected with the university throughout their daughter’s time as a student. Pam and Jeff have continuously given back to UC Davis and other families, and serve on the Aggie Parent and Family Council and Cal Aggie Alumni Association board.
Do you have a passion for UC Davis and for helping others like Sophia, Pam and Jeff? If so, please consider sharing your experience and become a UC Davis Parent Ambassador. Volunteering is simple and you can choose how much and what you want to participate in. We expect more virtual events in 2021, and anticipate more in-person events in 2021 and 2022.
Lastly, I want to thank all the volunteers who have been there for our family. From our early, uncertain decision days, to both in-person and virtual orientations, we have moved to holding student send offs ourselves and now enjoy connecting with many other likeminded parents as an APFC board member.