Students entering Shields Library on the first day of instruction must show their daily symptom surveys and scan their ID cards.

CHANCELL-ING: A Fall Quarter for the History Books

The 2020-21 academic year kicked off at UC Davis this week, and we’re ready for all that lies ahead. Remote instruction and remote working continue to define how we’re operating. Just a fraction of students are living in campus housing as we continue to endure the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even with these necessary precautions, we’re more determined than ever to move UC Davis’ mission forward. We’re committed to connecting with the community, continuing our traditions in this age of virtual events and doing our part to shape a better tomorrow.

Our faculty and researchers are addressing the effects of climate change and working urgently to be part of the COVID-19 solution. UC Davis continues to launch its students to great success. In fact, Washington Monthly just ranked us second among the country’s universities for social mobility.

So, we move ahead and keep rising to the top — all while doing so as safely as possible.

Priority No. 1: Health and safety

I hope you’ve heard by now about the Healthy Davis Together initiative. This is a coordinated effort between UC Davis and the city of Davis to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the Davis community. It includes public health messages, increased COVID-19 screening and other measures to encourage positive behaviors and lower the risk of spread. In a recent development, Healthy Davis Together is testing residents of the Greek houses as part of an effort to prioritize high-risk environments.

Healthy Davis Together is all about teamwork and working together for the common good, two things that we do well here in Davis. I’m confident that we’ll help make a difference and serve as a role model for other college towns around the country.

In the meantime, we’re heading into fall with plenty of Aggie ingenuity. Even if we can’t meet in large groups, we’re still showcasing campus activities in fun and creative ways.

Keeping the arts and our spirits thriving

Though the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts is closed for now, UC Davis students and Mondavi Center members can enjoy a new series of livestreamed events via HomeStage. They include Amirah Sackett & MR MiC connecting the dots between hip-hop and Muslim traditions on Oct. 7, performances of Beethoven by the Alexander String Quartet on Oct. 18 and much more.

The Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art is also keeping artistry thriving at UC Davis. A Nov. 19 online event pays homage to Wayne Thiebaud, the legendary UC Davis art faculty member who turns 100 in November. The webinar will preview the upcoming exhibition, “Wayne Thiebaud Influencer — A New Generation,” which is scheduled for January and includes works from former students and contemporary artists.

We’re also adapting to the times during the upcoming “Aggie Spirit Week” from Oct. 10-17.  After all, October is the traditional homecoming month for UC Davis, a time for Aggies from the past and present and all our friends to celebrate.

This time, we’ll be doing so online. Virtual campus tours, entertainment, meet-and-greets with alumni and many other events are on tap. We hope you’ll come join us from the comfort of your couch or home office.

That’s just a small sample of what UC Davis has planned over the coming weeks. You’ll also be hearing soon about a historic UC Davis campaign that will make you expect even greater things from our university in the future.

In the meantime, I hope you continue to mask up and stay safe. Let’s keep moving forward with a sense of purpose and compassion. Who knows what these coming months have in store, but by working together I know we’ll rise to the occasion.