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Davis: Traditions

Because Davis was originally small and somewhat isolated from larger communities, students and faculty members early developed a very close relationship and began many traditions which continued through the years.

Aggie Greeter Dance Judging Day
Cal Aggie Junior Beard Rally
Cal Aggie Camp Labor Day
Coed Week Little "I"
Frosh Dinks Mav'rik Band
Frosh-Soph Brawl Picnic Day
Greek Week Preview Day
"Hi Aggie" Spirit Spring Sing
Homecoming Weekend Victory Bell
Honor Spirit Wild West Days

Aggie Greeter Dance
The Aggie Greeter Dance was held during Orientation Week at the beginning of the school year. It was sponsored by the Associated Students, to bring together large numbers of Davis students.

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Cal Aggie
Because the Davis campus was the University's center for agricultural teaching and research, a Davis student traditionally was called a Cal Aggie. Although the school first opened to students in 1908, the term Cal Aggie did not become official until 1922.

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Cal Aggie Camp
There were a number of traditional activities which were designed to raise funds for Cal Aggie Camp, a student-supported camp for underprivileged from the Davis-Sacramento-Woodland area. Several of the fund raising activities for the camp were concentrated in a single week during the fall of the year. Drives Week was initiated by Penny-a-Minute Night, when girls out of the dormitories past lock-out had to pay a penny for every minute they were late. The week included the Auctions, where donated merchandise and items were auctioned off to the highest bidder, and the Ugly Man Contest, where contestants sponsored by living groups and other campus organizations competed in costume and make-up for the title of Ugly Man with the winner decided by penny votes. Additional funds for Cal Aggie Camp came from the Carnival, with games of chance and skill sponsored by student organizations, and the Beauty-and-Beast Ball, which was held in connection with the Sacramento State College football game rally.

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Coed Week
After 1950, one week each semester was turned over to coeds. The girls were in charge and asked men for dates to movies and particularly to the Coed Week Dance.

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Frosh Dinks
In a tradition that began around 1955, members of the freshman class, as a sign of class unity, wore caps known as dinks. The dinks were blue with a gold button and had "Cal Aggie" lettered in gold across the front. They were worn by all freshmen to classes and meetings until the Pajamarino Rally, held during Homecoming Weekend. If the freshmen won the Frosh-Soph Brawl, held during the first month of classes, they stopped wearing the caps immediately. Before the dinks, freshmen were required to wear bibs.

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Frosh-Soph Brawl
Freshman-sophomore class rivalry began in 1917 with the "tank rush," when sophomores attempted to push freshmen into the swimming pool. The tank rush later evolved into the Frosh-Soph Brawl, held during the first month of classes. In the brawl, the two classes competed in such events as a tug-of-war, obstacle race, and haystacking contest. Traditionally, the losing side carried the equipment off the field. If the freshmen won, they stopped wearing their dinks; otherwise, they had to wear the dinks for at least another month until the Pajamarino Rally during Homecoming Weekend.

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Greek Week
Greek Week publicized fraternities and their activities on the Davis campus. Fraternity members joined together for a workday program in the city of Davis and on the campus. The activities ended with the crowning of the Greek Week Queen at the Interfraternity Council's semi-formal dance.

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"Hi Aggie" Spirit
Davis students were proud of their tradition of friendliness and the "Hi Aggie" spirit indicated the degree of informality on the campus and in the town.

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Homecoming Weekend
Alumni returned to the campus for Homecoming Weekend in the fall of each year. The weekend began on a Friday evening with the Pajamarino Rally, which was tradition after 1916. Students in pajamas marched to the train station to meet returning alumni, then accompanied them back to the campus for the rally around a bonfire constructed by freshmen. After the rally, where prizes were awarded for the most original pajamas, a dance was held. On Saturday, students and alumni attended the football game. In the evening, a queen presided over the Homecoming Dance, which ended the weekend.

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Honor Spirit
The most observed and enduring tradition at Davis was the Honor Spirit, an honor code adopted in 1922 and administered by the students. Chancellor Emil M. Mrak called it "an adult code of behavior." It was based not only on the idea that University students possessed enough maturity and integrity to be personally responsible for their behavior, but also on the mutual trust that was built up between faculty, students, and administration.

The Honor Spirit pervaded Davis campus life. Lost or misplaced items were left where they were found or turned in to campus lost and found to be claimed. Valuables were left untouched by students in dormitories and living groups. A student was expected to do all of his own course work, including papers, assignments, and exercises. Examinations were not proctored. The cover of each bluebook carried the pledge, "We, the students of the University of California, Davis, do not tolerate the giving or receiving of aid during examinations." Each student was held responsible for his own and others' actions.

Violations were considered serious offenses. A Welfare Council, consisting of a chairman and ten students, was elected by the Associated Students to be responsible for promoting and enforcing the Honor Spirit. Reports of violations were made to the Welfare Council, which called the student in question to a meeting where the innocent student was cleared and the guilty student given an opportunity to correct himself. The decision of the council was submitted to the dean of students as a recommendation for action and the students involved could make appeals to the dean. If the student was found guilty, punishment could range from a reprimand from the dean of students to dismissal from the University. In addition to its activities regarding the Honor Spirit, the Welfare Council was also responsible for investigating and making recommendations on all matters involving student welfare.

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Judging Day
Judging Day was held annually in the spring as a competition for nearly 1,000 members of the Future Farmers of America. High school teams from all parts of California attended the day's events, which involved various contests requiring agricultural knowledge and skills. Late in the afternoon, winners attended an awards assembly.

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Junior Beard Rally
After the spring of 1956, the junior class annually staged the junior Beard Rally to culminate the junior Beard Growing Contest. Prizes were awarded at the rally for the best all around beard and mustache and for the most ridiculous beard. A dance was held to conclude the evening after the judging.

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Labor Day
Labor Day, another Davis tradition adopted from the Berkeley campus, dated from at least 1924. Each Leap Year, on February 29th, Davis faculty and students joined their efforts in various campus improvement projects. The day was organized and sponsored by the Associated Students for such projects as clearing brush away from buildings and painting bleachers.

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Little "I"
The Little International Livestock Show was originated in 1937 by the Golden Hoof Club to provide competition in grooming and showmanship for students working with animals from the University herds. The event was later sponsored every fall by the Associated Students, who presented winners with trophies and ribbons as prizes.

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Mav'rik Band
Mav'rik Band was made up of members of the Davis marching band, who wore a variety of costumes to play at basketball games and informal campus events.

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Picnic Day
Picnic Day developed out of an unplanned weiner roast attended by 18 members of the Davis faculty and student body in 1906. The first official Picnic Day, May 22, 1909, was held in conjunction with a Davis open-house, and although there was only one exhibit of cheese and milk products of the dairy industry, attendance reached 3,000.

The tradition of the annual open house was continued, with two lapses: in 1924 because of an outbreak of hoof and mouth disease, and from 1942-45 because of the war. Exhibits and activities were added and expanded so that Picnic Day encompassed so many activities it was difficult to attend them all. Picnic Day, 1965, attracted nearly 60,000 people.

The students planned and carried out Picnic Day, which involved a Picnic Day Board, various sub-committees, and, ultimately, about 80 per cent of the student body. The day began with a float parade, participated in by most of the living groups, who competed for prizes. The remainder of the day was devoted to a general open-house on the campus, including departments, and such activities and events as a horse show, intercollegiate swim relays, a fashion show, band festival, the world's largest high school track meet, an acquacade, and a melodrama. The day ended with the spring formal dance in Freeborn Hall.

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Preview Day
An annual traditional event since 1956 was Preview Day for junior and senior high school students who toured the Davis campus to get a glimpse of college life. The event involved a complete program for the visiting secondary school students who were guided in tours of several campus points of interest by about 125 Davis student volunteers.

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Sacramento State Rally
On the eve of the football game with Sacramento State College, a traditional rally was held during which various living groups presented skits. The Beauty-and-Beast Ball was held immediately after the rally.

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Spring Sing
Spring Sing, held in the latter part of the spring semester, was a tradition at Davis since 1956. Living groups participated by sponsoring individual vocalists or groups of singers who competed for perpetual trophies.

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Victory Bell
After every Cal Aggie sports victory, an informal rally was held at the site of the Victory Bell along the south wall of the gymnasium. The bell was a memorial to Thomas F. Tavernetti, a former Davis teacher and administrator.

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Wild West Days
Held in the fall, Wild West Days occured over a weekend. For the two days before the activities, western clothes were worn to classes and it was permissible for students to ride horses on campus. Saturday featured bronc riding, wild cow milking, calf roping, steer riding, hog calling, a greased pig scramble, and barrel racing contests. A dance ended the weekend.

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