SAYS Summit College Day

Attend SAYS Summit 2016

The 8th Annual SAYS Summit College Day will be on Friday, May 20, 2016, 8 a.m.-8 p.m., at the UC Davis Pavilion. Contact us for more information or to purchase tickets (schools may use purchase orders).

SAYS Summit 2014

SAYS Summit 2014 Video

More than 700 students attended the 2014 SAYS Summit College Day.

SAYS Summit 2013

SAYS Summit 2013 Video

Watch this video overview of the 2013 SAYS Summit, featuring program leaders, poet mentors, students and teachers.

SAYS Summit 2012

SAYS Summit 2012 Video

Over 500 youth attended the fourth annual SAYS Summit in 2012.

SAYS Summit 2009

SAYS Summit 2009 Video

The SAYS Summit had its inaugural event on May 15, 2009.

The annual SAYS Summit is both timely and significant. It is well-documented that California’s workforce is projected to need an additional one million college graduates by 2025. To meet this challenge, California’s college and career pipeline must serve as a true pathway to post-secondary success for all California’s students. New data from the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) highlight’s major gaps in college opportunity for the low-income students and students of color who are the majority of California’s student population. Fortunately, programs like Sacramento Area Youth Speaks (SAYS) out of UC Davis is creating bridges of opportunity for young people to become authors of their own lives and agents of change. Research is clear: if we do not repair California’s pathway to and through higher education, society as a whole will suffer.

As a response, we bring 1,000 middle and high school students to UC Davis for an interactive day that transforms the college experience for these students.  The Summit starts at 9 a.m. with Aztec dancers, UC Davis step teams, opening remarks from deans and vice chancellors, a keynote address, and tours of the university. Students also participate in community building activities and interactive workshops. In the evening, we host a showcase that demonstrates some of the best spoken word performance poetry in the region. By 8 p.m., teenagers are back on their school buses headed home.

Attendee Feedback on the 2014 SAYS Summit

  • “By now, I’m sure you’ve all received many thanks for your hard work in putting this event together over the last six years, to which I can only add my own humble compliments: Wellman Hall, the Quad, Freeborn Hall, and all of UC Davis for that matter was absolutely illuminated this past weekend by the fierce radiance of the SAYS Summit, for which I can only imagine tides of roaring applause from the individuals after whom the workshops of the event were named. And I do not mean this lightly; your work is historic; for bringing together young people of all backgrounds together, it creates a spectacular vision within the chronology of activism at UC Davis, within Sacramento, and within the various, transnational struggles to uplift consciousness worldwide. I had the chance to sit in on two workshops, and found myself impressed both by the leadership skills of the facilitators, as well as the maturity and intellectualism with which the students responded. Now, I want to know how I can take part. I recognize that organizations like SAYS are only possible through the contributions of each student, parent, volunteer, and every other member of the community who is willing to create a better world; I am here at Davis precisely because of the presence of such figures in my own life, and now I reflect their will, struggling to do justice to all the sacrifices they’ve made for me to get here. The road has been jagged. It has been cruel and unrelenting. And yet, in the matter of a few weeks, I will be the first of my family to graduate from a four-year university.” – UC Davis Undergraduate
  • “Hello, I got the great privilege of hearing you [Vajra Watson] speak and I truly thank you. In a matter of minutes your words already had me thinking and speaking differently. Personally, your words have motivated me. It is the end of the school year and my classes coincidentally are becoming harder as we get closer to transcripts. Each day I get closer to wanting to give up, but your words have given me an extra push and I refuse to give up. So in advance I want to thank you for contributing to my success.” – local high school student