Our family made a huge transition this summer from our quaint little bungalow in Sacramento’s Curtis Park to living alongside the bikeway on campus at UC Davis. We are now living super compact, biking more than driving, and reading late nights in the study halls. Last night I led a small class on the green outside our apartment for incoming freshmen interested in environmental and agricultural sustainability, and today I met a student for open office hours at the dining commons (the “DC”). It’s eye-opening to see how students really live-the kind of ethnographic immersion I love.
This isn’t just for fun…it’s part of a position I am taking on for the next two years as “Faculty-in-Residence,” meaning I’m an accessible, approachable, and ever-present resource for first-year students at UC Davis. Actually, over 95% of freshmen voluntarily live on-campus here, and finding their way to their lecture hall, to downtown, and to the careers they think they want is not a simple undertaking. Like the students, my role here is still taking shape, and I miss our friends and our home in Sacramento. But if I get too sad there’s always soft-serve in the DC.