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thebattalion l thursday,

september 19, 2013

l serving

texas a&m since 1893

l first paper free – additional copies $1 l © 2013 student media

SYMBOL OF THE SPIRIT Former students fulfill Aggie’s dream John Rangel The Battalion


ggieland will shine a little brighter Friday when 3,509 students receive their Aggie Ring. It is a symbol cherished by students and alumni long after they leave the University, but for some it becomes cause for worry when it is lost, misplaced or too expensive to buy. It is during these times, however, that the Aggie Ring’s symbolism becomes a reality. The sides may wear and the shine may dull, but the spirit the Aggie Ring stands for is exemplified in the actions

that some take to make sure every Aggie can wear it proudly. Kyle McClannan, Class of 2009, wanted to be an Aggie since he first wanted to go to college. He only applied to one university, was accepted and four years later walked the stage with a degree in political science. One thing was missing, however. “I had to pay for all of my college through loans and could not afford the Aggie Ring,” McClannan said. “But See McClannan on page 5

Ring provides financial obstacle for some Mackenzie Mullis The Battalion


he Aggie Ring is something that Aggies — and non-Aggies — recognize and respect as a unique symbol of the excellence in character and academics that comes with an education at Texas A&M. Many students will purchase their ring before they graduate,

signifying the end of their college career. For some though, the price makes buying the ring a daunting process. “I was on the fence about getting my Aggie Ring,” said Kyle Baldock, senior community health See Ring expense on page 5


Pass it back, grads Grad students to open wildcat competition Lindsey Gawlik The Battalion


rom learning the freshman wildcat at Fish Camp to taking part in Pull-Out Day and getting to “Whoop” for the first time, the four wildcat cheers are a large

part of the undergraduate A&M experience. Texas A&M may soon, however, have a fifth wildcat added to that list. Ryan Beemer, head of the marketing committee for the Texas A&M Graduate Student Council and civil engineering graduate student, came up with the idea for a graduate student wildcat and started the process of making this idea a reality. Beemer said there are three things that

truly show you are an Aggie: wearing the Aggie Ring, cheering on the Aggie football team and doing your Aggie wildcat. Whereas graduate students get to take part in the traditions of the Aggie Ring and go to football games, they have had to make do with using the senior wildcat as their own.

William Guerra — THE BATTALION

See Grad wildcat on page 3

fightin’ texas aggie band

thebattalion asks


Band hosts cancer survivor to raise awareness

Page 2: What are your thoughts on a graduate student wildcat?

Let’s be friends


John Rangel The Battalion

student government | 3 Branches clash on fiscal policy


he Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band will play host to an honorary guest Saturday during the game against Southern Methodist University — a 6-year-old cancer survivor by the name of Charlie Dina. Nick Baker, public relations officer of the band unit B-Company and senior sports management major, said the idea to host Charlie came from friends who wanted to do more. “Me and my buddies decided we wanted to do something different this year in terms of giving back,” Baker said. “We’ve always been taught at A&M, especially in the Corps, that something very important to us is selfless service.” See Charlie Dina on page 3

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SBP Reid Joseph urged senators to reconsider an allocation bill at Wednesday’s meeting, prompting a debate on fiscal resonsibility.

lifestyles | 4 WWI play storms stage COURTESY

Charlie Dina, a 6-year-old cancer survivor, will be the honorary guest for the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band during Saturday’s game against SMU.

“Journey’s End,” a play documenting the lives of soldiers in WWI, depicts trench warfare and the effects of shellshock.

9/18/13 11:16 PM



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“I think that the tradition should be upheld, and I don’t think that they need a wildcat. I like the traditions.” Jamie Dow, senior biomedical sciences major

“I believe that all former students should continue their senior wildcat with their ‘whoop.’ It’s a bond that they all have as former students. Graduate students, as soon as they graduate, are former students. They have joined the student body in that way.” Wyatt Fettner, senior history major

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“I don’t think there is a need to make a new wildcat for graduate students. If you’ve already graduated college, I think you deserve to ‘whoop.’”


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“I think that they should stick with the old wildcat since traditions are so big here at A&M. I think that tradition would be a really cool thing to preserve.” Kate Strozewski, freshman nutritional sciences major

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“I think it should be a little bit of a longer ‘whoop’ than the seniors. Something different, but still similar.”


“Even though the tradition is for just the undergrads to have their own wildcats, I think that graduate students should be allowed to have one. It’s a fun tradition that everyone gets to be involved in.”

“To be honest, I think that a tradition is a tradition. It should be kept the same. That’s just my opinion.” Julio Gonzalez, sophomore sociology major Photo feature by Bryan Johnson — THE BATTALION

thebattalion The IndependenT STudenT VoIce of TexaS a&M SInce 1893

Jake Walker, Editor in Chief The BaTTalion is published daily, Monday through Friday during the fall and spring semesters and Tuesday and Thursday during the summer session (except University holidays and exam periods) at Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843. Offices are in Suite L400 of the Memorial Student Center. News: The Battalion news department is managed by students at Texas A&M University in Student Media, a unit of the Division of Student Affairs. Newsroom phone: 979-845-3315; E-mail:; website: Advertising: Publication of advertising does not imply sponsorship or endorsement by The Battalion. For campus, local, and national display advertising, call 979-845-2687. For classified advertising, call 979-845-0569. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Email: Subscriptions: A part of the Student Services Fee entitles each Texas A&M student to pick up a single copy of The Battalion. First copy free, additional copies $1.




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page 3 thursday 9.19.2013


Senate, SBP clash on fiscal policies S

tudent Body President Reid Joseph urged senators to reconsider the current draft of an annual funding appropriation bill, which does not allocate all $50,000 of the Student Government Association fund but keeps $5,000 for emergency projects throughout the year. Joseph said during the executive report portion of the meeting that, to his knowledge, it is more fiscally responsible to allocate all the money in the beginning of the year — to ensure students are getting their money’s worth — and fall back on existing SGA funds if emergency funds are needed. Student Senate Finance Chair Cary Cheshire said part of the existing funds Joseph referred to were insecure and the idea behind saving $5,000 was to have an emergency fund to support future projects.


Fernando Sosa speaks to Student Senate members Wednesday.

Charlie Dina Continued from page 1

Baker said he hopes hosting Charlie for the game will both give him an unforgettable experience and raise awareness for pediatric cancer. Part of the band’s goal to raise awareness will entail wearing bracelets, both to honor of Charlie and to drum up attention to the fact that September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month. “I’ll introduce him to the band [on Saturday morning], and the band will get the chance to meet Charlie and his family,” Baker said. “He’s going to sit with us during the game, and the whole band is going to wear his bracelet. Then, during halftime, he’ll be on the sideline watching the Aggie Band, close and personal.” Charlie was diagnosed with stage-four nueroblastoma, a pediatric cancer, in 2012. He underwent five rounds of chemotherapy, radiation and other treatment before scans showed no evidence of the cancer in May of 2013. Angela Dina, Charlie’s mother, said even though Charlie is in remission he still must undergo three months of scans to confirm whether the cancer is returning or if it is still in remission. Charlie’s Angels, a website dedicated to spreading Charlie’s story and raising money for cancer research and treatment, gives out the bracelets the band will wear to those who donate in Charlie’s name. The bracelets have a scripture verse from Philippians 4:13.

BAT_09-19-13_A3.indd 1

For the full story, visit thebatt.

“The verse reads, ‘I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength,’” Dina said. “We felt like that verse was the verse that we claimed in healing over our son.” Both Baker and Dina said Charlie’s trip to Aggieland will mean a lot to spreading pediatric cancer awareness. “We’ve always known our Aggie friends and family to be such a community, and I think the outpouring and support from the band, specifically, and the Corps this weekend is phenomenal because it’ll not only be fun for children but it’s going to raise some awareness and knowledge of pediatric cancer,” Dina said. Charlie’s visit to campus is not the first time he has been affiliated with Texas A&M. Johnny Manziel has worn Charlie’s bracelet during games and talked about Charlie’s role in his life during his Heisman speech. Austin Haines, senior computer engineering major and member of B-Company, said hosting Charlie for the game is a great way to give both Charlie and the band a great experience. “It’s important for Charlie just to give him some sort of outstanding experience,” Haines said. “He’s made it through remission, and it’s almost a celebration but at the same time it’s letting him know that there are other people out there who care for him, especially a nationally famous organization such as the Fighting Texas Aggie Band.” The Charles M. Dina Foundation was recently formed by Charlie’s parents to raise funding and awareness for pediatric cancer in general. Those interested in donating or in receiving one of Charlie’s bracelets can email

Grad wildcat Continued from page 1

Beemer said they are ready now to have a personalized graduate student wildcat. “I’ve been asked why now is a good time for this,” Beemer said. “It’s been 115 years [of having graduate students attend A&M]. We make up nearly a quarter of the overall student population at Texas A&M Universitym ­­— why not now? We really look forward to the opportunity to try to bring graduate students more into the Aggie Spirit.” A YouTube video competition will be held to decide the new wildcat. Graduate students wishing to share a potential wildcat will be able to send in a video of themselves performing the potential wildcats to a single YouTube account. Brittany Bounds, president of the Graduate Student Council and history graduate student, said the idea of a new wildcat for graduate students has gained the support of Student Body President Reid Joseph, along with Head Yell Leader Ryan Crawford and the Traditions Council. “What we had envisioned was to get together a council of the members who are on board [for the new wildcat], members who represent various classes on campus and organizations, such as the people from Traditions Council, some yell leaders and the Student Body President, Reid Joseph,” Bounds said. “We will have them screen all the videos sent in and then send forth to the graduate students the top three, so that the [Graduate Student] Council could vote on which one we will use.” The legislation to carry out with this competition and the establishment of a new graduate student wildcat was passed Tuesday at the Graduate Student Council meeting with a vote of 22 for, 15 against and 6 abstentions. While the legislation passed, some graduate students on the council were not sure making a new wildcat would be the best

way to establish their group at Texas A&M. Lauren Garcia, horticulture graduate student, said the wildcat tradition’s story was rooted in A&M’s rich military history, and she wasn’t sure they should be trying to impose on the customary story, which Beemer has said will possibly be revised to fit the new wildcat. “I think that by adding on a graduate student wildcat to that tradition, a tradition that already exists, it’s trying to infringe upon something that already exists and is already very well accepted [how it is],” Garcia said. “Instead of looking at something to add to that tradition, which is already established, I think as graduate students we should create our identity elsewhere, perhaps in a new tradition.” However most graduate students at Tuesday’s meeting met the proposition for the new Aggie wildcat enthusiastically, with a notable number of Aggie undergrad-turned-graduate students joining in the enthusiasm. John Goertz, ocean and coastal engineering graduate student, said having a class wildcat means having an Aggie identity and this will help Aggie graduate students feel better identified with the University. “It’s not a tradition because of where it came from, because of the original story behind it,” Goertz said. “It’s a tradition because people still do it. It’s a tradition because we are an Aggie family and we do that together.” The details of the competition are still under development, but Beemer said now is the time to get graduate students more involved in Aggie traditions. “Traditionally, grad students have used the senior wildcat but I’ve heard from undergrads that we didn’t earn it,” Beemer said. “We hear ‘Oh, graduate students aren’t real Aggies,’ because we don’t seem as involved in the traditions, but I was hoping now we can get involved in them and show what a big part of the Aggie family we are.”

9/18/13 11:06 PM


page 4 thursday 9.19.2013


‘Journey’s End’ brings WWI trench warfare, shell shock to stage Emily Thompson

Special to The Battalion


Sean Gordon (left) and Brock Hatton confront each other on stage.

HISTORY COMES ALIVE (Above) Mobolaji Laja-Akintayo (left), Hatton and Gordon discuss war tactics during a performance of “Journey’s End.” The play was written by R. C. Sherriff in 1928.

Photos by Jonathon Sheen — THE BATTALION

he new Liberal Arts and Humanities Building opened in 2012, but those who walk inside its Black Box Theater step back in time to World War I, to the trenches of St. Quentin, France, in March 1918. The floor is laid with sandbags marking out the trenches and the room is seemingly lit by candlelight. Two sheets suspended in the air portray haunting images from World War I. As close as this feels to time travel, it’s actually the set of “Journey’s End,” a play put on by the A&M Department of Performance Studies as part of the conference, “1914 and the Making of the 20th Century.” “We want to talk not just about the war, but about how the war shaped the world in which we live,” said Adam Siepp, representative of the conference. “Journey’s End,” put on as a manifestation of this conversation, is performed in the Black Box Theater, an intimate space with only five rows of seats, making the performance an immersive experience. The actors portrayed men who weren’t sure whether they’d see another sunrise, which brought a certain amount of weight both to the actors as characters, and to the actors as students in 2013 learning to understand the past. “What made it special for me was the fact that I am British, and during my high school education, the First World War was a big topic which we had to learn about quite a bit, so that’s what made the production for me much more literal,” said Joseph Pfang, junior computer engineering major. The play spans three days in the trenches of France as the threat of an imminent attack by the Germans hangs in the air. The soldiers and officers entrenched in the front lines do their best to hold onto what makes them men and people and individuals while facing the threat of death from all directions, a feat that would take experience to understand. “Being the Corporal, there’s the idea of being taught what the war is like,” said Stephen Adams, sophomore history major. “We originally had some sense of military protocol, but battlefields dictate what battlefields dictate.” But production was not without its challenges. Since there are no local places that rent legitimate World War I costumes, the company ultimately reached all the way out to California for their wardrobe. “There was a lot of research, and still despite that there was a lot of necessary guessing,” said Jeff Morris, performance studies major and sound supervisor. “It translated, ‘How or to what extent is the past represented or accessible?’ The process was enlightening.” But the play is historically accurate in more than just its costumes and military protocols — the crew and the people behind the play did immense research on all kinds of trauma.

“We had one rehearsal where we just sat around and watched shellshock videos of individuals who experienced shellshock,” said Brock Hatton, senior biomedical sciences major, who portrays Capt. Stanhope, one of the main characters in the play. “Of people who were no longer able to speak, people who weren’t able to move, people who had constant tremors that they couldn’t simply turn off, people who had different kinds of funny walks that they did afterwards that they had to be shock-therapied out of. It was little stuff like that that really drove this play home.” “Those five hours of rehearsal,” said sophomore biological and agricultural engineering major Sean Gordon, shaking his head. “In the beginning it was just another play, but that one rehearsal really turned it around for me.” Gordon portrays Lt. Osborne, a well-intentioned father figure in the company who thinks the best of all his fellow men and whom the soldiers refer to as “Uncle.” Stanhope, Hatton’s character, along with the other soldiers in the trenches, deals with many crises that could lead to similar forms of shock. He has various coping mechanisms, and asks rhetorically at a tense moment during the play, “Is there no limit to what a man can bear?” Anne Quackenbush, play director and performance studies professor, said she felt strongly about this theme, and hopes the play inspires people to think about how individuals deal with the constant shadow of death, yet continue to maintain their humanity. “An entire generation of individuals went to war and didn’t come back — and they were our age,” Hatton said. “My character is the exact same age that I am now, and so it sort of really struck home that these men worked for three or four years in horror, and then they were told to go back into society. You realize the ramifications of everything at that point.” Conner Brazil, sophomore English major, said the play humanizes enemy soldiers as well. “You normally think about the other side of any war as that machine trying to hurt your family,” Brazil said. “The German soldier I play isn’t really there to fight for his country necessarily, just to fight because he had to. The most important things to him are his personal letters. It’s not just the British, it’s the Germans too, that react to wanting to get home to their families.” Hatton said the way characters are based on real people deepens the impact of the play. “How war affects us today is completely different than it was back then,” said Hatton. “These are real men who gave up their lives for their country, and I think it’s really powerful.” “Journey’s End” plays in the Black Box Theater at 8 p.m. every night through Saturday.

and the emmy goes to... Students debate award hopefuls

Alexandra Slaughter Special to The Battalion


ith award season fast approaching, students sound off on the front-runners and underdogs as “The 65th Annual Emmy Awards” will be held Sunday, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris. “I think he is a beautiful person inside and out, so I think he will make a good host,” said Elizabeth Lim, freshman biology major. “He will be a grand ring master bringing the Emmy’s seamlessly together.” One of the most anticipated categories of the night is Outstanding Drama Series. The front-runner is “Breaking Bad,” but the real question is who will win Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.

“John Hamm from ‘Mad Men’ [should win],” said Nelson Holmes, sophomore psychology major. “He’s been rocking it since day one, but this year was his strongest season yet.” Sophomore mathematics major Taylor Wilson, however, disagrees. “I think Kevin Spacey should win an Emmy for his performance in ‘House of Cards,’ the Netflix-produced show,” Wilson said. “He was brilliant in the role and kept you on the edge of your seat. He held all the power and you were never quite sure of his plan, but you knew he had one.” The other category up for grabs is Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series. Claire Danes has won the past two years for “Homeland,” but Holly Berckenhoff, freshmen ocean engineering major, said she believes a

change is in order. “Connie Britton in ‘Nashville’ [should win],” Berckenhoff said. “The show has shown her as not only an actress, but also as a singer, and she has killed it at both.” Other major categories include Outstanding Supporting Actor and Actress in a Drama Series. For the supporting actor category, Aaron Paul is considered a favorite for “Breaking Bad.” For supporting actress, the main question is whether Maggie Smith will continue her streak for her role on the British hit ‘Downton Abbey,’ for which she has won the past two years. For the past three years, “Modern Family” has swept the category of Outstanding Comedy Series, but Nathaniel Lane, junior chemical en-

gineering major, said he thinks Louis CK should win this year. “He is a comedic genius,” Lane said. “So awkward and real. He deserves to win for acting, writing and directing.” For a lesser-discussed category like Outstanding Actress in a Miniseries or Movie, Anisa Wakil, freshmen aerospace engineering major, said she wants Jessica Lange from “American Horror Story” to win. “I think she’s going to win because she can nail any character she plays, from a disgustingly evil nun to a drugged-up mental hospital patient,” Wakil said. The Emmy Awards will air at 7 p.m. on CBS. Graphic by William Guerra — THE BATTALION

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page 5 thursday 9.19.2013


Continued from page 1

I always hoped that I could purchase it one day on my own.” After graduation, McClannan’s work led him to New Tech Global, an oil and gas consultancy firm that had a large Aggie presence on its staff. McClannan said his dream of one day owning an Aggie Ring took the first step toward reality when he first walked in to discuss sales with the New Tech Global staff. “I came in [to the office], and while I was waiting to meet with my contact and speaking to the receptionist, a lady walked up and we began to make small talk,” McClannan said. “She found out I was an Aggie, and while we were talking she asked, ‘Where’s your class ring?’” McClannan explained to her how he had never been able to buy one but hoped to get it as soon as he was able. He then went to his meeting and left, not thinking twice about the conversation. The story of an Aggie who never had the chance to own an Aggie Ring, however, took root in the hearts of several Aggie employees at New Tech Global. Rob Williams, Class of 2005 and New Tech Global employee, learned about McClannan’s story and immediately felt the need to help. “[The receptionist] got with me and a few other Aggies in the office and told us his story,” Williams said. “So we took a guess on his ring size and sent out an email to the other Aggies in the office asking if anyone would be interested in donating to buy an Aggie Ring for this guy.” The response was immediate. “It took maybe 30 minutes to raise the money after we sent the email,” Williams said. While his story was making the rounds through New Tech Global,


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McClannan continued to work with Cintas, unaware that his ring was being sized, bought and paid for by a group of Aggies. Neither McClannan, Williams nor the others involved had yet to meet or speak with each other. McClannan said a few months after his initial meeting with New Tech Global, he received a call from one of its representatives asking him to come in for another meeting. He had moved departments and was no longer on the sales staff, but the representative was insistent. “I tried to reschedule but he kept insisting on meeting me,” McClannan said. “I was starting to think that maybe this was them trying to recruit me for something. I had my suspicion, and I thought something was fishy, but I went anyways.” McClannan and his contact sat down in a conference room and began discussing business, but before the meeting got fully underway, the doors opened and people began walking in. “All of a sudden, one of the conference room doors opened and a bunch of people came in and introduced themselves,” McClannan said. “They made a circle along the wall and the company president introduced himself, and the theme was that everyone was an Aggie.” The true purpose of the meeting was revealed: the New Tech Global Aggies presented McClannan with his own Aggie Ring. “It was a pretty amazing moment,” McClannan said. “I was shaking and I didn’t know what was going on. The ring is something every Aggie wants. It’s a bond that we all have that goes back such a long time.” Williams said it was the Aggie Spirit that motivated the group to give McClannan his Aggie Ring. “Our main message to him was, ‘You don’t know us, and we don’t know you, but we know each other because we’re Aggies,’” Williams said.


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Ring expense Continued from page 1

major. “I was unsure if I should get it because it costs over $1,000. I just kept thinking, if I drop that much money on a ring, I could use that money for something else.” Cole Baldock, Kyle’s older brother, graduated from A&M in 2010 without purchasing his ring after he decided that it was too expensive. This decision ultimately influenced Kyle. “My brother didn’t get his ring,” Kyle said. “He never told me he regretted it but every now and then I think he wishes he had one. I grew up looking up to my brother my whole life, so a lot of what he does influences me.” One lure of the Aggie Ring is its networking ability, often helping students find jobs in a market that is sometimes unstable and unpredictable for young, college graduates. “As I am sure many people have told you, the ring just kind of promotes the Aggie network and whatever career I end up in, no matter what I do, a priority of mine will be to build relationships,” Kyle said. “Aggies will help you get a job if you are in need. Having an Aggie Ring is a great way to build relationships.” This summer, Kyle flew to Denver, Colo., to visit his older brother and sister-in-law. “I flew to Denver to see my brother and a guy on the plane had a ring on,” Kyle said. “We got to talk and it just made me realize how much the Aggie Ring can help build relationships. People see it and they respect the fact that you went to A&M. “ Kyle said that no matter what decision someone makes about the Aggie Ring, it ultimately has to be about a person’s priorities. “I would say I respect either decision,” Kyle said. “If you don’t want to drop that much money on a ring, it is just a piece of jewelry. It is obviously one of the biggest traditions at A&M, so it is understandable either way. You just have to figure out what you want.” Other students knew that they always wanted to get a ring, but the price did make the decision more difficult. Elizabeth Bruns, senior kinesiology major, received her ring a year ago. “I really wanted to not want it but it is just such an important part of A&M,” she said. “It is expensive but it is worth it. I really think it does a good job of symbolizing the Aggie family.” Corey Burnham, Class of 2010, was born with Aggie blood. His father, Class of 1979, did not push A&M on Burnham or

his sisters so they grew up not being the most dedicated of fans. “My dad made a deal with me back in high school that I could either get a high school ring or a college ring,” Burnham said. “Little did I know that picking a college ring would be so monumental at the time. I didn’t know much about the traditions of Texas A&M, especially the importance placed on getting your Aggie Ring.” When Burnham was a freshman at A&M, his older sister received her ring. It was there that he began to understand what the ring meant and what it could do for his future. “One of the main events that swayed me to get my ring was when my sister received her Aggie Ring the spring of my freshman year,” he said. “I got to be there for the excitement of ring day and I learned about not only the history behind the Aggie Ring, but how it also connects so many Aggies across the world.” Several years later, Burnham came across an A&M graduate as he traveled through Europe. “I was in the Czech Republic at the time, touring Prague castle with a friend, when I heard an older gentleman behind me say “Gig ’em Ags,’” Burnham said. “He had noticed my maroon Texas A&M hoodie from behind and had come to say hi. Even though I do not remember his name, I remember seeing his class year of ‘63 on his worn down Aggie Ring.” This encounter spawned a 20-minute discussion about A&M, with the Class of 1963 former student reminiscing about the old days. He even stopped to give Burnham some words of wisdom. “He told me that he had met so many people over the years by just seeing an Aggie Ring on their right hand and some of whom he was still close friends with,” Burnham said. “I had always heard that Aggies are everywhere and this experience proved that saying true for me. The instant connection that we had, even with such a large age gap, really impressed upon me the desire to get my Aggie Ring.” When the time came closer for Burnham to order his ring, the cost inevitably became an issue. His father, as promised, did help him pay for some of the ring expenses, but the rest was up to Burnham. “I spent the next few months going back and forth on whether to get my ring or not,” he said. “Finally those two special memories, with a few smaller ones, are what helped me to figure out a way to get my ring. When it came time, I did have the money that was needed and I gladly went in to order my Aggie Ring.”

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