UC Davis at the Smithsonian

For two weeks between June and July students and staff did a fabulous job representing UC Davis by hosting multiple events at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. The festival, hosted in Washington D.C., is a memorable celebration of July 2, 1862, when Abraham Lincoln signed the Morril Act into law; this law granted land to the public colleges focusing on agriculture and mechanic arts. This year represents the 150th anniversary of the Morril Act.

UC Davis is not one of the original land-grant institutions, but that did not stop us from attending and representing ourselves at the festival! Our presence was supplemented by some of our amazing staff giving informative and engaging speeches as well as our participating programs selling products that gave attendees a taste of UC Davis and some of the things we have going on over here in our college town of Davis.

If history or music peak your interest, a talk with Patria Turner or Chris Reynolds might be something to put on your list of things to-do. Patricia Turner gave the relative and informative speech about “African American Folk Artists and the Civil Rights Movement.” Equally as interesting, the history of rock was covered by Chris Reynolds in his speech, “How Songs Find Their Meanings.”

If beer or olive oil are things you might find in your home, or are interested in absorbing information about either in an entertaining way, Charles Bamforth and Dan Flynn are then men to talk to. “The Beauty, Bounty and Benefits of Beer” was the speech given by Professor Bamforth regarding, of course, beer! After presenting his information in a captivating way, he was more than willing to answer audience questions. Dan Flynn, speaking about our “Olive Oil Center,” shed light on the myths and truths about olive oil and good olives. His speech was even accommodated with his own demo.

The items brought along from UC Davis were extremely popular sellers, several of them being sold out by the end of the festival! These included multiple sizes of bags from the Design program. Promoting sustainability, these bags were handmade from recycles and reusable materials such as salvaged vinyl banners and fabric samples. Going hand-in-hand with Dan Flynn’s speech, the Olive Oil program supplied wonderful Silo and Gunrock Olive Oils, the new Garlic Olive Oil and our Olive Oil Bath Products. And of course Charlie Bamforth could not leave so many people interested in his beer information without bringing copies of his book titled “Beer is Proof God Loves Us.”

Not only was attending the event wonderful for all who could be present, it was also a great opportunity to showcase UC Davis as a school and as a leader in the development of sustainability and other fields on a national level. If you happen to find yourself in Davis, please explore some of our wonderful departments and programs with the people who put so much passion into what they do. And feel free to try some of our olive oil body butter!


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