Spring break is one of the most beloved college traditions. Every year after midterms, undergrads get a much-needed break from campus life and head out to warm places like Florida, Cancun, or Punta Cana to live the good life. This year, however, is not traditional. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, travel is something of a controversial subject, especially if it’s for leisure only. To encourage students to remain safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the University of California, Davis is offering students $75 grants if they choose not to travel this year.
The initiative is a partnership between the school and the Healthy Davis Together — an organization working towards the stop of COVID-19 spread in local communities. The $75 grant can be redeemed for supplies that fall into the categories: Get Active, Get Artsy, Home Improvement, and Let’s Stay In.
In a statement to the UC Davis community, Chancellor Gary S. May said: “UC Davis asks everyone in the university community to avoid all nonessential travel during spring break, March 20-24. For students looking for something to do, Healthy Davis Together can help! The city-campus partnership is offering Spring Break Grants of $75 apiece to be used for “staycations” — and the response has been awesome so far.”
Students had until March 10 to apply for the grant which was available for the first 750 applicants. The reaction to the campus leadership’s offer was better than they could have imagined. Dean May shared an update a week later saying, “Response was overwhelming, so much so that we boosted the number of grants from 500 to 750 and now 2,000 (at least)!”
The money for the program is funded by private donations along with federal and state grants for COVID-19 response. The chancellor noted that one-quarter of everyone who was able to claim the grant money was used in the Home Improvement category. He wrote, “I am eager to hear about what these students and the other grant recipients are doing. We will be checking in with them and will let you know what we learn.”
The University of California Davis is one of many institutions that are actively discouraging nonessential travel during spring break. Others include the University of Michigan, University of Tennessee, Baylor University, and the University of Florida, according to ABC News.