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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.