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Overview of the University of California, Davis

Overview of the University of California, Davis

Discover UC Davis: A vibrant campus with rich farmland surroundings, diverse student life, and a commitment to academic excellence. Team


3 min read

June 23, 2023

Within the city of Davis, California is the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), a public research university that is part of the expansive University of California system. The sprawling campus, stretching over 5,300 acres, makes UC Davis the largest UC campus in terms of land area. It's a place where innovation meets community, where academia intersects with a passion for sustainability and inclusivity.

History and Distinctions

Founded in 1905 as the University Farm, UC Davis was originally an offshoot of UC Berkeley meant to serve as an agricultural research center. Over the years, it has evolved into a comprehensive university, becoming an official general campus of the UC system in 1959.

UC Davis is globally recognized for its exceptional programs in agriculture and environmental sciences, receiving high rankings in these areas consistently. It's also known for its excellence in the fields of veterinary medicine and biological sciences. The university's research impacts both the local community and the world, with notable advancements in sustainable agriculture, climate change, and health sciences.

A significant part of UC Davis' reputation rests on its commitment to diversity and inclusivity. The campus is known for its friendly and welcoming atmosphere, nurturing an environment that celebrates diverse cultures and ideas. The campus attracts students from around the globe due to its strong STEM programs. This, alongside the support systems, fosters a diverse and accepting environment. UC Davis has received recognition for its efforts in sustainability, becoming a beacon of green practices among U.S. colleges.

The stunning nature surrounding UC Davis reflects the college's strong push for sustainable and green practices.

Student Life at UC Davis

UC Davis provides a myriad of transportation options for students. Many students choose to navigate the expansive campus and the town on bicycles. The university also operates a bus service, Unitrans, which is primarily run by student drivers and offers comprehensive service throughout the city. Moreover, the city's close proximity to other exciting California locales means students can easily explore the wider region. Sacramento is a short drive away, while a longer excursion of about an hour, will take you to the San Francisco Bay Area with stunning cities like Berkeley and San Francisco.

When it comes to food, UC Davis offers a variety of options for all tastes and dietary needs. There are several dining commons on campus that provide buffet-style meals, while the Silo and Memorial Union house a number of eateries serving a range of cuisines. The UC Davis Farmers Market, an extension of the city's renowned farmers market, brings fresh, local produce to campus, emphasizing the university's focus on sustainability and healthy eating.

A bike is a great way to travel around Davis, which will help save costs compared to driving everywhere.

Vibrant Culture and Entertainment

The university is not only surrounded by rich farmland but also by a city teeming with culture and fun. Students can visit the attractions near US Davis, including the Downtown Davis area to explore local boutiques, art galleries, and a vibrant food scene. The Mondavi Center for Performing Arts, located on campus, offers a range of performances, from music to dance to theater. Meanwhile, the nearby city of Sacramento offers a wider urban experience, just a short trip away.

UC Davis' commitment to enhancing student life doesn't stop at food and transportation. The university offers over 800 student clubs and organizations fostering a diverse range of interests and providing countless opportunities for students to engage with the community and develop leadership skills.

As a large university, there's plenty of opportunities to connect with other students and forge lifelong friendships and memories.

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Top 5 Things to Do at and Near UC Davis

Explore the Arboretum

The UC Davis Arboretum, which spans 100 acres along the banks of the old north channel of Putah Creek, is a must-see for all visitors and locals. This beautiful oasis, featuring gardens with plants from around the world, offers scenic walking paths and is an ideal spot for picnics, bird-watching, or just relaxing between classes.

The Arboretum is one of the key attractions at UC Davis that is a must-see when at the college.

Attend the Picnic Day

This student-run event is the biggest annual open house in the entire UC system. Picnic Day, held every April, attracts thousands of visitors and features more than 200 events, including a parade, exhibits, sports, and entertainment. It’s a showcase of the richness and diversity of campus life at UC Davis.

Visit the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science

For the food and wine enthusiasts, a visit to the Robert Mondavi Institute is a must. Attend the public lectures, workshops, and tastings to gain a deeper understanding of the science behind wine and food, and witness first-hand the UC Davis commitment to sustainable agriculture and innovative gastronomy.

Take a Day Trip to Lake Berryessa

Just a short drive from campus, this scenic lake is perfect for a day trip. Enjoy water sports like kayaking and jet-skiing, or relax by the shore with a picnic. The surrounding area is also home to several beautiful hiking trails.

Lake Berryessa is a true hidden gem in Northern California that not a lot of people know about. Make sure to visit when you get the chance.

Check out Downtown Davis

This lively area boasts a variety of unique shops, art galleries, and a vibrant food scene. Visit during the 2nd Friday ArtAbout, a monthly evening of art viewing and artists’ receptions at local businesses and galleries.

In essence, the University of California, Davis provides a rich tapestry of experiences that goes beyond the classroom. Between the vast, bicycle-friendly campus, the vibrant local culture, and the proximity to some of California’s most beautiful natural sights, students at UC Davis find themselves at the heart of an unforgettable college experience.

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