Enjoying the Sunny Side of Davis

 Chancellor Gary S. May

Whether you’re a UC Davis student or a townie, the range of recreational and outdoor activities ranks among the biggest perks of living in Davis. Coming from Atlanta, LeShelle and I marveled at the miles of running trails around our new hometown, the campus fields packed with intramural sports and the Davis Bike Loop bustling with cyclists.

For all its small town charms, Davis is definitely a city that stays on the move. And now that spring’s starting to warm up, it’s “go time” once again with sports and outdoor fun.

It’s the time of year when UC Davis opens its campus wide for the entire community during Picnic Day and the Whole Earth Festival. It’s the season when downtown’s Picnic in the Park resumes after the rainy months, with kids jumping in bounce houses as locals dance to live music and shop at the farmers market.

Now, there’s even more options to let off steam and have healthy fun. The Activities and Recreation Center at UC Davis is fully open again, as of March 27, after an extensive remodel. This favorite spot for the UC Davis community and locals to exercise now has an additional 20,000 square feet of space. I even got a few reps in the improved weight room recently. Drop by and you’ll see new cardio machines, improved natural lighting and many other enhancements to keep you motivated and working hard.

We expect to debut UC Davis’ new Aquatic Center, formerly the Rec Pool, right as the weather heats up in the summer. It’ll be a key place for the entire community to gather and cool off once the thermometer reaches the red zone. The Aquatic Center will also include a new competition pool and expanded series of classes, along with a sand volleyball court and other amenities.

Speaking of which, few sports connote fun in the sun quite like beach volleyball. And now, UC Davis has a team, one of two new women’s sports at our university along with equestrian.

You can see the beach volleyball team in action at home, Friday, April 12 (doubleheader against Oregon); and Picnic Day, April 13, a game against Pacific. You’ll find the Aggies’ new courts at the south end of Howard Field off Russell Boulevard.

Picnic Day is certainly a time to revel in the success of UC Davis sports. By now, I hope you’ve heard about our women’s basketball team reaching the NCAA tournament once again. We’re also swelling with Aggie Pride following our football team’s historic season. The team claimed its share of the Big Sky Conference title, a first for UC Davis, with a 7-1 record.

Just about every spring sport has a home game during Picnic Day weekend, from lacrosse to baseball and softball. Come on out, grab some sun and root for the Aggies.

Otherwise, Picnic Day is UC Davis’ welcome to spring with activities for the entire family. Take a selfie next to an Egghead sculpture. Check out the chemistry magic show. Root for your favorite pup in the Doxie Derby. Take a stroll through the arboretum. And, by all means, don’t miss the Battle of the Bands.

Spring in town also wouldn’t be complete without the Whole Earth Festival. This year, from May 10 to 12, this UC Davis celebration of community, environment and culture celebrates its 50th year. That’s a half-century of outdoor fun and activities that define Davis’ free spirit.

I’m looking forward to all these events and the chance to enjoy our sunny spring weather after this long, wet winter. Pass the sports bottle and see you outside!