Among the points in the 10-point covenant signed by 51 of 75 Greek organizations are pledges not to serve alcohol before noon and refraining from drinking games.
"The covenant demonstrates that we are doing our part," said Matt Chemin, president of the Interfraternity Council.
Picnic Day typically draws 75,000 people. The on-campus open house, now in its 98th year, is a wholesome event featuring a parade, music, educational exhibits, animal events and sport.
However, off-campus, the downtown has in the past become rowdy and violent after the daytime campus events end. Last year, in the interest of safety, more police were deployed, fines were increased and bars and restaurants pledged not to open as early or offer cut-rate drinks.
The steps led to less alcohol-fuel crime. This year, as part of a continuing effort to discourage behavior associated with drinking, the City of Davis has expanded a zone where fines are doubled for specific violations on Picnic Day weekend, according to a press release from the university.
Among the violations that draw a doubled fine are excessive noise, urinating in public and having open alcohol containers in public.
Joaquin Feliciano, the Greek life coordinator at UC Davis, said more fraternities and sororities chose not to have parties last year. The ones that did host get-togethers, tried to confine them to backyards or inside the frat house.
The 2012 covenant signed by the participating fraternities and sororities:
• no alcohol consumption by those under the age of 21 or those who are drunk
• no alcohol before noon
• no drinking games that encourage overconsumption
• provide food if alcohol is served
• provide non-alcoholic beverages if alcohol is served
• no materials that promote Picnic Day as a partying or drinking event
• adequate supervision and security
• encourage the use of designated drivers or cabs
• encourage "positive interactions" and activities other than drinking
• keep the music at a level that doesn't violate the noise ordinance
• encourage responsible drinking with awareness that excessive drinking can be dangerous
PHOTO CAPTION: Extra security was on hand in downtown Davis during Picnic Day last year. Manny Cristosomo/Sacramento Bee