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THE BATTALION MAROON LIFE 2
TABLE OF CONTENTS 17 || TYLER SNELL
MICHAEL YOUNG FEATURE
28 || RYAN MACDONALD
FOOTBALL STAFF & SCHEDULE
20-21 || TAYLOR FENNELL
31 || ABIGAIL OCHOA
PULLING FOOTBALL TICKETS
22 || JORDAN BURNHAM
38 || MEGAN RODRIGUEZ
NEW STUDENTS’ GUIDE TO AGGIELAND
About the cover: Junior Reid Williams, seniors Blake Jones, Gavin Suel and Connor Joseph, and junior Karsten Lowe are serving as the 2018-2019 Yell Leaders. Cover photo by Cassie Stricker Cassie Stricker — THE BATTALION
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The Academic Building, which was completed in 1914, stands in the heart of campus, greeting Aggies as they pass. Cassie Stricker — THE BATTALION
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Editor-in-chief Megan Rodriguez says take advantage of every moment and opportunity in Aggieland
Dear incoming Aggies,
y name is Megan Rodriguez, editor-in-chief of The Battalion, and on behalf of our entire staff, I would like to welcome you to Aggieland. I hope your time at this incredible university is as unforgettable as it has been for me. As I look toward the start of my senior year, I realize there is so much more I want to do, yet most of my time has already passed. I know I have taken advantage of as many opportunities as I possibly could, but as my time here comes to a close it feels like it has not been long enough. My advice, Ags? Soak it up. Do not let any open door shut in front of you. Get involved early, find something you love and work harder than you have ever worked to achieve your goals. It sounds like a cliche, but it’s no joke the next three to five years will go by so much faster than you could ever imagine. Between your new student conference and graduation, you will barely have a chance to breathe.
Yes, it is going to speed by, so you have to do everything you can to make memories that last. Take advantage of every Midnight Yell you can attend. Stand at as many Silver Taps as possible, even when you have an exam at 8 a.m. on Wednesday. Step outside of your comfort zone and go talk to your neighbors. You might be like me and meet your best friend on move-in day. While school comes first, it is these little moments that will stick with you. Next, I hope The Battalion can be a resource to you during your time here at Texas A&M. We have been the student publication of campus for nearly 125 years and as such, it is our mission to inform the student body and make their voices heard. We strive to be a useful, informative and relevant source of information for our readers. This edition of Maroon Life is likely the first Battalion product you will ever pick up and I hope it equips you with everything you need to start the year off right. From traditions to student leaders and everything
in between, we want to help you know what A&M is all about. Then, throughout the school year, we will provide you with the most up-to-date reports on student issues and events. While I will never have the chance to meet every one of you, I want to wish you all the best of luck. I hope you find Aggieland to be as welcoming and enjoyable as I have. On a campus of over 60,000 students, I know you can find your place here. Maybe it will be in The Battalion newsroom, perhaps it will be in a church or a research lab. Wherever you find yourself, make sure you love it and give it everything you have. College is too short not to do your best. Have a great year Ags! Thanks and Gig ‘Em. Megan Rodriguez is a communication senior and editor-in-chief for The Battalion.
SPRING 2018 Brad Morse, Editor in Chief Gracie Mock, Managing Editor Sanna Bhai, Special Sections Editor Cassie Stricker, Photo Chief Jesse Everett, Asst. Photo Chief Angel Franco, Sports Editor Anthony Pangonas, SciTech Editor Luke Henkhaus, News Editor Megan Rodriguez, News Editor Taylor Fennell, Asst. News Editor Kenya Robinson, Life & Arts Editor
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Nicolas Tan â€” THE BATTALION
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TRADITIONS FISH CAMP
CORPS OF CADETS FINAL REVIEW
PENNIES ON SULLY REVEILLE
THE BIG EVENT REPLANT
SPIRIT OF AGGIELAND
MEMORIAL STUDENT CENTER SENIOR BOOTS
MARCH TO THE BRAZOS
12TH MAN SILVER TAPS
BONFIRE MEMORIAL CENTURY TREE
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‘GOT A LITTLE STORY FOR YA, AGS’
Midnight Yell is one of Texas A&M’s most beloved traditions By Samantha Mahler @MahlerSamantha
Photos by Cassie Stricker — THE BATTALION
During Midnight Yell, the Yell Leaders entertain the crowd of former students, current students and sometimes visitors from the opposing team with fables and lead them through yells.
efore the Texas A&M football team rushes onto the field on game day and the 12th Man stands ready to take action, a tradition unlike any other takes place. Held at Kyle Field the night before a home football game, Midnight Yell gives Aggies the opportunity to perfect their yells before facing the opposing team the next day. Midnight Yell features singing, storytelling and of course, plenty of yelling. More than 25,000 Aggies attend Midnight Yell before each home game, according to its page on the Aggie Traditions website. The tradition began in 1913, when a group of freshmen cadets were gathered in T.D. “Peanut” Owens’ dorm. The cadets wanted to have a pep rally for the upcoming football game, and they wanted to make it unlike any they had seen before. They wanted to practice their yells for precision, and decided to do so on the steps of the YMCA Building at midnight.
When the group approached their senior commanders for permission, they were told the yell practice couldn’t be made into an official event, but there was a possibility the Yell Leaders would show up. Sure enough, they did, along with the majority of the Corps of Cadets. The crowd practiced the yells to be performed at the game the following day. The Aggie War Hymn was sung, as well as the Spirit of Aggieland. “[Before] the next game it happened again,” said John Maldonado, Traditions Council public relations chair and communication sophomore. “They picked up the tradition of it and before every home football game, they would gather on the steps of the YMCA Building and have yell practice.” A few years down the line, Owens became a Yell Leader. Legend has it his feet were so big, they couldn’t fit on the steps of the YMCA Building. To keep his balance, Owens would pace back and forth on the steps, and soon enough, the other Yell Leaders followed suit. Over the years, various activities have been added to the schedule of Midnight Yell. For example, to get the crowd in good spirits, the Yell Leaders take turns telling
fables about how the Aggies will beat their opponent. “They tell the story of Ol’ Rock either outsmarting or bettering his opponent in any capacity,” Maldonado said. “It’s a really fun way to get everyone laughing at yell practice and to relax into the yells.” According to Maldonado, once the Aggies started inviting ladies from Texas Woman’s University to football games, women began attending Midnight Yell as well. This began the practice of kissing one’s date once the lights dimmed, commonly referred to as “mugging down.” Today, students without a date will either use a lighter or turn on the flashlight on their cell phone, which makes it easier to find another dateless student in the dark, in hopes of finding someone to “mug down” with. Even when the football team is on the road, Aggies still have time to practice their yells. On the Thursday night before an away game, Aggies gather at the 12th Man Memorial statue next to Kyle Field for yell practice. In addition, a smaller Midnight Yell is held on Friday at a designated location in the town where the game is being held.
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THE EVOLUTION OF A
After E. King Gill, this is how the 12th Man became what it is today By Gracie Mock @g_mock2
n 1922, a tradition began — but it would take almost 70 years before it would become what it is today. The
“I think it’s one of the prized positions on the field now, is the guy that gets to put on that jersey and wear the number 12.”
story of the 12th Man began with E. King Gill standing on the sidelines, ready to play if his team needed him, and continues today as Cullen Gillaspia dons the No. 12 jersey. As the story goes, the Aggies were playing Centre College in the Dixie Classic and the team was down to 11 men. Head coach Dana X. Bible called Gill to the sidelines to suit up and be ready to play if needed. “He never actually went into the game, but the 12th Man represents that. [It’s] why the whole student body stands,” Gillaspia, the current 12th Man, said “It’s because at any point in time, they’re ready to go in the game. It’s kinda the sense of the student body being part of the game.” While Gill’s story is widely circulated in Aggieland, little is spoken about how the tradition evolved into what it is today — a walk-on special teams player wearing the No. 12 jersey to represent the student body. The first time this kind of 12th Man entered the game was in the fall of 1983, when then head coach Jackie Sherrill implemented the 12th Man Kickoff Team, a group of 10 students who would play at home games. This team covered kickoffs at Kyle Field until the
head coach 1989-2002
A bronze statue of E. King Gill stands in front of Kyle Field today. It was part of the redevelopment in 2014. Cassie Stricker— THE BATTALION
1991 football season, when then head coach R.C. Slocum changed it to a one-man job. According to Slocum, the rules for kickoff returns changed, moving the kicker back from the 40-yard line. This allowed players to run the ball more often and made the need for strong kickoff coverage important. “We went through two changes, two successive changes, where they moved the kick off restraining line back and I didn’t want to sacrifice winning, or our ability to win, by maintaining that, so I thought a good compromise and I talked to the whole staff, to be able to keep the concept, which we still have now, of having the 12th Man out there wearing No. 12,” Slocum said. The players were still students who walked-on to the team and Slocum said this provided the opportunity for them to be part of the game. “It gave some guys who were not good enough athletes to have been recruited as college football players, it gave them a role that they could still get into the games and go down and be involved in the game,” Slocum said. “That was fun, to see them and see the excitement they had.” In the 1991 season opener against LSU, Jay Elliott was the first player to wear the No. 12 jersey and play as the 12th Man. Elliott said the 12th Man Kickoff Team remained intact and certain players were voted on each week to wear the No. 12 jersey. “In ’91, we had about 10 on the squad, total, and I was the first one to be singled out on the kickoff team,” Elliott said. “I probably played four or five games that year and then some of the other guys played the other games. Much different than the way they do 12th Man now.” Elliott said there is a connection between the 12th Man and the student section, which can be felt from the moment the team runs out onto the field.
Current 12th Man Cullen Gillaspia waves his arms at the crowd.
THE BATTALION MAROON LIFE 9 The original life-size statue of E. King Gill stood in front of Kyle Field from 1980-2014 and is now located in front of Rudder Fountain.
“When you walk out there and they know you’re the 12th Man, you know everyone can run out but when the 12th Man waves the towel, in my personal opinion, the crowd gets much more loud and boisterous with the 12th Man going out there,” Elliott said. “If the 12th Man makes a tackle or gets a hit, the crowd erupts, probably twice as loud as they normally would get. There is a connection, because … we were playing for them.” From there, the tradition became a walk-on player earning the position each week. In 2016, Gillaspia earned a scholarship and the Friday before the season opener against UCLA, he was named the 12th Man, wearing No. 12 in each game since then. He said he worked hard to become the 12th Man each day in practice. “I called my mom walking into workouts at 5 a.m., dang near crying, and I’d be like, ‘Why am I here? Why am I doing this, I know I’m never gonna play,’” Gillaspia said. “That moment when they pulled my number out, that was the light at the end of the tunnel. It changed my life forever. It’s put its mark on me and I’ve put my mark on the 12th Man jersey.” Gillaspia said being the representative of the student body is an incredible experience, especially because of how loud the student section can get. “You look up and you see ‘Home of the 12th Man’ and you see a student section that’s 35,000 students strong and they’re all yelling in unison, or swaying in unison, whatever they’re doing, there’s no place in the country like it,” Gillaspia said. “We’ve played in some of the best places in the country and there’s not a student body that’s as involved, has as much pride, stay ‘til the end of the game and loves their team as much as the 12th Man.” There are three moments Gillaspia said stand out for him during his time as the 12th Man, so far. “The first was the first play I made against UCLA, and then really just the Tennessee game [in 2016] as a whole, that was a
really cool thing,” Gillaspia said. “Probably my most favorite moment is blocking the punt against Alabama [in 2017].” A friend once told Gillaspia the stadium goes crazy when the 12th Man makes a tackle, and he was able to experience that in his first game wearing the No. 12 jersey. “In the third quarter of the  UCLA game I made a solo tackle and I got up — I just got goosebumps, actually — I heard the stands and I heard the student body yelling and that’s one of the coolest, best moments I’ve ever experienced,” Gillaspia said. “You get up and you look and see ‘Home of the 12th Man,’ the place is going crazy and it’s over something that a walk-on [did], something that you earned that you did. An unreal moment.” Gillaspia said it is an honor to be part of Aggie history as the 12th Man and to represent the student body. “I [received] a degree from Texas A&M in May, I got my Aggie Ring, I got to play on one of the greatest football fields, football stadiums in college football and I got to represent the greatest tradition in college football,” Gillaspia said. “It’s an honor that I don’t deserve and it’s something that I’ll be grateful [for] and indebted to Texas A&M forever. ‘Til the day I die, Texas A&M will have a place in my heart.” Slocum said he is pleased with how the tradition has contin-
Sam Moeller served as the 12th Man during the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Photos by Cassie Stricker — THE BATTALION, FILE
Cullen Gillaspia celebrates a defensive play against Auburn on Nov. 4, 2017.
ued and how the coaching staffs have maintained it over the years. “We’ve had some great players represent the student body and wear that number 12,” Slocum said. “I think it’s one of the prized positions on the field now, is the guy that gets to put on that jersey and wear the number 12. I really enjoyed watching those people over the years run down and see the pride that they take in being that person to represent the student body.”
THE BATTALION MAROON LIFE 10
Cassie Stricker — THE BATTALION
Travis Burdick and Haley Neu, both Class of 2018, dated for two years before getting engaged under the Century Tree. The couple are to be married in October 2019.
A LIVING TRADITION
The Century Tree has played a part in many love stories over the years By Vernesha Hazel @verneeshaaa
alking through Academic Plaza, one may see an unusually shaped tree right in the heart of Texas A&M’s 5,500 acre campus, however, it is more than an unique oak. The Century Tree’s long, drooping branches signal a tradition which is one of A&M’s most beloved monuments. According to university archivist Greg Bailey, the Century Tree is thought to have been planted in 1891, making it one of the first trees on campus. There are documents stating the Century Tree was one of the first live oaks planted on campus and placed in the heart of the old parade grounds, Bailey said. “When the college first opened, parade
grounds were in front of Old Main,” Bailey said. “In the archives, there are pictures of Old Main that show the tree in the background, supporting that. That’s where the tree was really planted.” The Century Tree was named an official Famous Tree of Texas by the Texas Forest Service in 2011. As stated on the Texas Forest Service website, this award honors trees which “have been a witness to some of the exciting periods and events in Texas’ frontier history.” Bailey said the Century Tree used to be just another tree on campus and didn’t have its name until recently. “[The Century Tree] really didn’t have much of a significance much into the 1960s and ‘70s,” Bailey said. “It was basically referred to as ‘the large oak tree in front of the Academic Building’ and was a common meeting-up place for people.” Kamryn Crowder, Class of 2018, said the tree is a landmark she passed on a daily basis. “I learned about the Century Tree for the
first time when we came on a campus tour back in high school,” Crowder said. “Then when I came to A&M, I was a telecommunication media studies major so I had a lot of classes in Bolton, which is right behind the tree, so I always saw the tree on the way to class. It has always seemed to be a good representation of the life and tradition of the campus.” Bailey said there is a superstition that the branches of the Century Tree hold power over an Aggie’s love life. According to the tradition, if a couple walks under the tree together, they will eventually wed. This happens to be the case for Kenneth Graham, community health senior, and Sarah Franklin, kinesiology senior. “We would actually walk under [it] anytime we were in Academic Plaza, just for fun,” Franklin said. “I would say that the Century Tree is somewhat of a tradition in itself. Most Aggies understand what the tree means and they respect that.”
With the tradition also stating proposing under the tree will lead to an everlasting marriage, Graham proposed to Franklin under the tree during the fall of their junior year. Graham and Franklin aren’t the only couple to have their moment under the Century Tree. On Oct. 22, 2017, Haley Neu and Travis Burdick, both Class of 2018, took their first stroll under the tree together. “We had been together for two-and-ahalf years when he proposed the first time we walked under the tree,” Neu said. According to Bailey, the university is doing a lot of work to make sure the tree is around for years to come. “University Grounds has done a lot of work with the supporting of the branches,” Bailey said. “Because some of them are so large, a huge aspect is trying to mitigate lightning strikes and prevent oak wilt.”
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A golden tradition The recognizable ring took on different forms before the design was finalized By Sanna Bhai @BhaiSanna
ne hundred and twenty-eight years ago, a tradition began. Little was it known it would become one of the most prominent symbols of Texas A&M — the Aggie Ring. The first Aggie Ring was created in 1889. In A&M’s early years, each class would design their own ring, leading to drastic, or sometimes minor, changes. It was not until the 1930s that the look of the Aggie Ring began to resemble what it is today. Although the design has changed over the years, the message behind the ring remains unchanged, according to Kathryn Greenwade, vice president of The Association of Former Students and Class of 1988. “I think the meaning has stayed the same,” Greenwade said. “It’s a visible representation of our connection to Texas A&M, and it is something that we all wear proudly because we are all proud to be connected to the university. I think the cadets in 1889 felt that same passion and loyalty to Texas A&M that students today feel.” Today, the design consists of a five point star, a rifle, a canon, a saber and an eagle. Because the design of the ring from 1889 to the early 1900s wasn’t consistent, it would be unrecognizable to Aggies today. Rings from the turn of the 20th century have a square black face engraved with the letters “TAMC,” along with the class year split up on the both sides. In 1930, the overall design changed drastically, placing a red stone in the middle of the ring. The controversy this created prompted then university president Thomas Walton to standardize the ring design in 1933. Since the standardization, very few changes have occurred. In 1967, the manner in which the name of the university appeared changed, reading “Texas A&M University” to reflect the official university name change. In 1998 the ring began to be manufactured in one piece. The changes in the ring’s design, while maintaining the tradition of the school, are similar to the school’s overall history, according to Greenwade. “I often tell people that the Aggie Ring is like Texas A&M itself,” Greenwade said. “Whereas the physical presence may have had changes over the years, but the heart and the meaning of what truly matter has stayed the same.” Currently, there are four choices of finish for Aggie Rings: antique, natural finish, white gold and palera and platinum and silver. Regardless of finish, the Aggie Ring has the same meaning in every form, according to Greenwade. “It is a symbol of our unity,” Greenwade said. “It is a symbol of our values and it’s something we can all share. It’s a very visible reminder that we wear daily, to Texas A&M and the Aggie Network.”
The Aggie Ring symbolizes the connection to Texas A&M and unity within the Aggie Network.
Cassie Stricker — THE BATTALION
THE BATTALION MAROON LIFE 12
HONORING THE FALLEN Family members and students gather in Academic Plaza to honor the deceased as a special version of “Taps” is played from atop the Academic Building. Cassie Stricker — THE BATTALION
Silver Taps is held the first Tuesday of every month to honor the lives of current students who passed away By Tyler Snell and Gracie Mock @Tyler_Snell2 & @g_mock2
t may seem like a normal Tuesday, but as students walk through Academic Plaza, they notice the flag at half-mast. Cards with a student’s name, class and major lie at the base of the flag and atop the Silver Taps Memorial. Throughout the day, letters are written to the families of the students who have died in the last month. The bell tower chimes a familiar song of “Amazing Grace” while lights are dimmed throughout campus, and moonlight sets in over Aggieland. Students gather to stand together for the fallen in silence. Once the clock strikes 10:30 p.m., all is quiet until the footsteps of the Ross Volunteer Company are heard across the plaza. Students stand at attention as family members of Aggies who died in the last month are led into the plaza. The Ross Volunteers march to the center of the plaza in a slow cadence and fire off three volleys of seven shots to honor the current graduate or undergraduate students
who have died. Buglers play a special rendition of “Taps” called “Silver Taps” from the top of the Academic Building with no sheet music — the song has been passed down over the years and is played from memory. They play once to the north, once to the south and once to the west, but never to the east because the sun will never rise on those Aggies again. As the family members are led out of the plaza, students make their way home in silence and the lives of the fallen Aggies are remembered. The first Tuesday of every month is a special time in Aggieland, as Silver Taps is held to honor students who died in the previous month. The tradition began in 1898 to honor Lawrence Sullivan Ross, former governor of Texas and president of Texas A&M. Traditions Council, an organization within the Department of Student Activities, was placed in charge of the ceremony in the 1970s. “It’s the way the Aggies show that they are there for another student no matter what and that even if the student passes away, they are still part of the Aggie family and that we’re
gonna stand for each other,” Katherine Cornell, 2017-2018 Silver Taps chair, said. Before the night of Silver Taps, family members of the deceased are invited to campus for a reception and the ceremony. The Battalion, A&M’s student-run newspaper, publishes memorial articles about the students’ lives. For a new Aggie, this experience can be an emotional time. “Silver Taps is not seen, it is felt,” Cornell said. “The impact that it has on these families makes my job one of the most rewarding ones. Families have said things such as Silver Taps is one of the most honorable things that they’ve ever encountered and that the Silver Taps ceremony has made a huge impact on them and their healing process.” Students have also been able to send letters to the family members since Traditions Council took over the ceremony as a way to get students involved and connected to those being honored. “We definitely encourage the student body to write to the families. It really, really, really means a lot,” Cornell said. “Even just seeing the amount of letters pour in for their students
is incredible, so for those families to be able to read how much support that the current students are giving the families is amazing.” Abby Hemmi, general studies freshman, said she didn’t grow up knowing Aggie traditions and attended Silver Taps for the first time after her friends encouraged her to go. “My friends were like, ‘This is a really big tradition,’ and I had no idea what it was or what to expect but I went with them because you do stuff with friends,” Hemmi said. “I got a lot out of it actually and it made me feel more part of the Aggie family.” A&M students are told day in and day out about the Aggie family and Spirit of Aggieland, but most do not realize it until attending a Silver Taps ceremony. “To me, Silver Taps really is the absolute embodiment of the Aggie Spirit and what it means to be a part of the Aggie family,” Cornell said. “You can go stand and be part of the 12th Man on Saturday at football games, but standing for your fellow Aggie at Silver Taps really makes you a part of the Aggie family.”
THE BATTALION MAROON LIFE 13
‘SOFTLY CALL THE MUSTER’ Roll call celebrates the lives of Aggies who died in the past year
Top: Candles are lit as each name is called during the campus ceremony. Right: Aggies gather to honor former A&M students who have died in the past year. Photos by Jesse Everett — THE BATTALION
By Savannah Mehrtens @SJMehrtens
ach year on April 21, current and former students, faculty, staff and community members gather to remember and honor the Aggies who passed away in the last year. Muster is a ceremony at Texas A&M that started over a century ago to remember Aggies who died since the last gathering, according to the Muster website. The campus Muster is a formal ceremony, while others around the world may be held unofficially. The tradition of Muster states if there are two Aggies within 100 miles of each
other, they should gather, share a meal and remember their days at A&M on April 21 of each year. Kathryn Greenwade, vice president of communications and human resources at The Association of Former Students and Class of 1988, said she believes Muster is the most somber A&M tradition. “In my opinion, Muster is the greatest of our Aggie traditions because it truly boils down what being an Aggie is all about,” Greenwade said. “[Which is] having respect for our fellow Aggies, having loyalty to our school, having a strong affinity and connection and fondness for our university and all
of those things are included in the Muster ceremony or the Muster gathering.” Greenwade said Muster is a formal gathering at Reed Arena, but is also a night where Aggies around the world will gather to say “Here” for the Aggies they lost in the past year. “We [have] Musters take place in over 300 locations around the world,” Greenwade said. “Those [range] from more formal gatherings like [we have] in Reed Arena with the campus Muster, to very informal casual gatherings of just a few people out of state, out of country, that will get together, share a meal and as part of that, [they] take time
to remember those Aggies they knew who passed away during the last year and answer ‘Here’ for them.” David Pham, external relations coordinator for the Aggie Muster Committee and recreation, park and tourism sciences junior, said Muster is a tradition unique to A&M. “It’s the one tradition that I believe sets us apart from other universities,” Pham said. “It’s a time that has a somber component to it because we are remembering those who have passed but also time for Aggies to come together, so that’s why we also have the camaraderie component to it, too.”
THE BATTALION MAROON LIFE 14
Cassie Stricker — THE BATTALION
Cadets stand at attention while “We Remember Them” is read during the Bonfire Remembrance Ceremony.
Luke Henkhaus — THE BATTALION
Bonfire started in 1907 as a pile of brush and has grown to a large, organized structure put on by Student Bonfire.
Bonfire burned for 91 years before its collapse, the 12 Aggies lost are remembered each year at the ceremony and memorial By Sanna Bhai @BhaiSanna
tradition that began as a way to celebrate Texas A&M’s victory over the University of Texas in 1907, Aggie Bonfire is now remembered on Nov. 18 of every year at 2:42 a.m. in honor of the 12 Aggies who died during the Bonfire collapse of 1999. Bonfire was a long-standing tradition that typically occurred around Thanksgiving each year, where thousands of Aggies gathered to watch it burn. On Nov. 18, 1999, at 2:42 a.m., the stack collapsed, killing 12 and injuring 27. In memory of those who died, a memorial was built five years later in the same spot Bonfire last burned on campus, and each year at 2:42 a.m. on Nov. 18, students gather
for the somber Bonfire Remembrance Ceremony to honor the lives lost. The design and planning of the Bonfire Memorial began immediately after the collapse, and construction, performed by Overland Partners, was completed five years later. The memorial consists of three main parts: the Tradition Plaza, the History Walk and the Spirit Ring. The entrance of the memorial, known as the Tradition Plaza, includes the Spirit Wall, which is intended to separate the memorial from the rest of the world, and the Last Corps Trip Wall, which displays the poem typically read before Bonfire was lit each year. The History Walk leads to the memorial and symbolizes 90 years of Bonfire with 89 granite stones
arranged in a north-south line, beginning with 1909. Finally, the Spirit Ring surrounds the memorial site, representing of the Aggie Spirit uniting students. Twelve portals are oriented around the ring in the direction of the hometowns of the students they commemorate. The 27 students who were injured are represented by stones that connect the portals to complete the circle. Since Bonfire is no longer officially affiliated with the university, the tradition continues off-campus with Student Bonfire, a student-run organization wholly separate from A&M. Each year, students in the organization spend months before Burn Night cutting logs and building the Stack, which is burned before the last football game of the regular season.
From 2002-2005, student volunteers in Student Bonfire funded the project, but starting in 2006, the organization began to receive financial support from what they call “Friends of the Fire,” which helps cover costs of site leases, tractors, trucks, ropes, cables, logging chain and other equipment. Following the 1999 collapse, modifications to the stack design were made to ensure the safety of the participants, which include all logs touching the ground, a wedding cake design where each tier is smaller than the last, an unspliced center pole and four poles called “Windle Sticks” which are used as framework for the stack.
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THE BATTALION MAROON LIFE 17
LEADING THROUGH EXCELLENCE Photos by Cassie Stricker — THE BATTALION
University President Michael K. Young started his tenure as president of Texas A&M University in May 2015.
Now in his third year at A&M, Young continues to serve By Tyler Snell @Tyler_Snell2
Top: Young stands with members of the Corps during the Aggie War Hymn at a Texas A&M football game. Bottom: Young laughs at a joke during the first Midnight Yell of the 2017 football season.
ost students will only receive his emails or catch a glimpse of him at an event on campus, but Texas A&M University President Michael K.Young prefers to be more involved on campus than some might realize. Young, a graduate of Harvard Law School, became A&M’s 25th president on May 1, 2015. Before his position at A&M,Young was president of the University of Washington, but a lunch meeting with A&M System Chancellor John Sharp convinced him to come to Aggieland. “I said, ‘I’d be delighted to have lunch, but if this is about moving I really didn’t have any intent to move,’” Young said. “Nevertheless, [Sharp] came out to chat, talked a fair amount about what this school stood for and what it really meant. I have to confess, I was a little intrigued. Still not fundamentally interested, but intrigued enough to want to
know more about A&M, at which point he said, ‘Now that I came out and had lunch with you, you have to come back and have lunch with me.’ I said, ‘I really don’t want to go to College Station to have lunch with you, but thank you,’ and he said, ‘No, no.You have to.’ In the end, I said, ‘Well, okay.’” When touring the campus,Young spoke with student leaders and faculty. Young said during the tour his wife, Marti Young, tapped him on his knee and said, “We’re coming here, aren’t we?” Young replied with “Yes.” “I was fascinated by the fact that every experience [students] had derived from, or wrapped around, the [school’s] values,” Young said. “The way the professors treated them, the way they treated each other, the way they talked about how they would use their education. It really was powerful how the students brought us here I think.” Young said he and Marti moved to College Station before Muster and had the opportunity to experience what is now their favorite tradition for the first time. “It just fascinates me how it communicates that respect for those who’ve
gone before, but also they use lights to represent everyone that has passed on, and in an interesting way it’s kind of like the passing of a torch,” Young said. “It’s a wonderful way of intergenerationally transferring the traditions and values that this university really stands for.” In what little free time he has,Young said he likes to spend it outside, either on campus or with his wife on their cattle ranch. “The spot I spend the most time in is certainly the MSC. I do love that building,” Young said. “We have some horses and some cattle, and it turns out they garner an enormous amount of free time and attention. I like to be around Marti, who tends to them, so I’m basically a ranch hand.” With more than 1,000 student organizations,Young said his advice for an incoming freshman is to get as involved as possible and try new things. “Get out of your comfort zone and do some things that will really expand your horizons, because that’s what is great about coming to a university like this,” Young said. “You get so many things that are offered, so take advantage of some of them.”
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Prepared to lead
Amy Sharp is focusing on academic improvement, increasing inclusion and better access to physical and mental health services in her time as Student Body President By Megan Rodriguez @MeganLRodriguez
t was 7:05 p.m. in Academic Plaza when Student Body President candidate Amy Sharp asked her campaign manager, Valentina Tovar, to pray with her. The election announcements were filled with anticipation as Tovar squeezed Sharp’s hand. The final name of the night left Sharp, her family and her campaign team shouting with joy. The announcement on Feb. 23 was the culmination of months of dedicated campaigning and three years of service to Texas A&M as the Class of 2019 president. Sharp took up her responsibilities as SBP on April 21 at the 2018 Muster ceremony. She is currently making strides to address her three main policy goals: academic improvement, increasing inclusion and improving access to physical and mental health services. When the fall 2017 semester began, Sharp was making plans to continue her role as class president during her senior year. After being approached by close friends and peers who recommended she run for Student Body President, Sharp said her vision for her last year at A&M shifted dramatically. “All the people that I trust and love told me I needed to do it,” Sharp said. “The more I thought about it and the more I began to understand the role, the more I realized that the experience, the relationships and the university contacts that I developed, along with the passion for our traditions and for A&M, was the perfect recipe to serve in the role.” Sharp said her desire to serve the university through a leadership position began long before she ever considered running for Student Body President. “When I was at Fish Camp, Joseph Benigno [former SBP and Class of 2016] came and spoke and I was so inspired by him,” Sharp said. “He was the reason I
ran for Class of 2019 president as a freshman, because he was just inspiring and passionate about A&M and everyone was just captivated when he was talking and excited about A&M and about the things he said … I wanted to be able to inspire people the way he did.” Sharp’s rules and regulations manager, management junior Austin Lee, said she has known Sharp since their freshman year and watched her grow from the new Aggie who had a desire to motivate others into the well-equipped leader she is today. “I think confidence is one of the biggest changes I can see,” Lee said. “You have to believe in yourself to be in those positions. Amy has leadership and communication skills and passion and I think all of those grew as well. Those things that she is best at now have grown a lot since freshman year.” Sharp’s campaign manager, political science junior Valentina Tovar, said Sharp’s dedication to service is evident through her actions, such as a time when Sharp was sick but refused to miss a meeting because of her commitment to the role of class president. “Her resilience to be her best all the time and giving her best, whether it’s a council meeting, officer meeting or an [executive] meeting — whatever it may be, she just doesn’t stop,” Tovar said. “I think that’s pretty incredible.” While Sharp’s election as Student Body President is already a mark of success, it is only a stepping stone toward a future of selfless service, according to Tovar. “I’m excited for how she’s going to change the world,” Tovar said. “I think Student Body President is such a good platform to do that but just in life in general ... I think SBP is part of the process of who she’s going to become, but I know there’s so much more in ways that she wants to serve A&M after undergrad and continue to serve the people surrounding her.” While Sharp’s core goals have remained
the same since her campaign, she said her vision of how to improve services on campus has grown to include a wider variety of areas. “Especially for physical and mental health, I have expanded that a lot to encompass many things where you might not initially think of health like substance abuse and alcoholism, sexual assault, so kind of that safety component that can factor into your health in certain circumstances,” Sharp said. “Nutrition and physical health in the sense of not only Beutel [Health Center] but physical activities, like in the Rec and PEAP [Physical Education Activity Program].” Sharp spent her first day on the job creating a list of all the ideas she had been saving from students about her campaign goals of academic improvement, increasing inclusion and improving access to physical and mental health services. Since then, she said she has been deciding how much she can feasibly accomplish in a year and getting feedback on each item. “It’s going from a list of possibilities to an actual action guide to get them done and then the last step, which will come largely over the summer, is assigning everything we want to do to a timeline that coincides with the school year,” Sharp said. “I want to impact the student body as largely as I can. I recognize that I have one year but I can have a very large impact on the current population of A&M.” Sharp said she hopes this process of in-depth preliminary planning will make taking action throughout the school year easier so she can address the needs of the student body as efficiently as possible. “We have this Aggie family and we care about each other so much but we’re big so sometimes it doesn’t feel that way,” Sharp said. “I’m looking forward to, one student at a time, being able to help them get to the point where they know they know they are taken care of and they know they are loved.”
After serving as Class of 2019 President for three years, Amy Sharp will take on the role of Student Body President. Jesse Everett — THE BATTALION
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Legacy of leadership Taylor Welch is prepared for her position as the 69th MSC president By Luke Henkhaus @luke_henkhaus
Taylor Welch will serve as the MSC President for the 2018-2019 school year. Jesse Everett — THE BATTALION
s the 69th president of the Memorial Student Center, business honors senior Taylor Welch is carrying on a long history of service to Texas A&M’s campus and community. Welch previously served as chair of the L.T. Jordan Institute for International Awareness, one of the 19 committees within the MSC she now oversees as president. Through these committees, the MSC’s hosts conferences, entertainment and major service events benefiting current and former students as well as the greater Bryan-College Station area. As president, Welch also coordinates with university administration, community members, former students and other student leaders to maintain the MSC’s role as an Aggie institution. “The MSC is truly such a special place for me,” Welch said. “I’ve met my best friends here. I’ve gotten to be a part of really cool programs and so for me, serving as the 69th president of the MSC is just a chance for me to go ahead and start giving back to a university and to a department that I love and I’m just really excited that I get to do that even before I graduate.” In addition to leading the Jordan Institute, Welch was been involved in MSC Fish, MSC Business Associates and the MSC Wiley Lecture Series.
“The MSC truly has defined my college experience thus far in the best way. I am so honored to be able to serve in a role that 68 people have served in before and that’s not something I take lightly.”
She said her experience within the MSC has given her the confidence to make the most of her time as president. “I think being a part of the MSC has taught me a lot about service,” Welch said. “That’s something that’s really important to me, and so while it’s looked different in each of those roles, I think I’ve learned a lot about how you can make an impact on your community and I think the MSC does an incredible job of doing that through programming.” Before taking office on April 23, Welch worked closely with former MSC President Annie Carnegie, gaining a practical perspective on the president’s role while learning the finer points of coordination within the MSC and across campus. Carnegie said she was excited to have Welch by her side through some of the MSC’s largest signature programs of the year. “Taylor is incredibly intelligent, passionate and motivated,” Carnegie said. “She is somebody who looks at a situation and can understand what’s going on, what some of the external factors affecting the situation are, who to bring in to help really evaluate what’s happening. She does a great job of bringing different individuals together to work through problems. I think that is going to make her tremendously successful in the coming year.”
Taylor Welch, MSC President
Carnegie said one piece of advice she shared with Welch throughout their transition was “be bold and be grateful,” while accepting and appreciating the challenges she faces along the way. “There have been so many individuals who encouraged me or challenged me to do something that I didn’t know I was capable of,” Carnegie said. “So in those moments I had to be a little bit more bold than I typically would be, but I can look back and see how those people really helped shape me into who I have become and I’m incredibly grateful for those people.” Looking to the upcoming school year, Welch said she is honored to uphold the MSC’s legacy as a home for the Aggie family and a center for selfless service. “I can’t even tell you how shocked and how honored I am to be able to serve in this role,” Welch said. “The MSC truly has defined my college experience thus far in the best way. I am so honored to be able to serve in a role that 68 people have served in before and that’s not something I take lightly. I’m really excited to build upon what this year’s team has done and to be a small part of what I’m sure will continue to be many, many years that the MSC does great things for not only this campus but this community as well.”
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BATTASKS What advice do you have for incoming freshmen?
Photos by Cassie Stricker, Annie Lui and Jesse Everett — THE BATTALION
Ambassadors of the Aggie Spirit 2018-2019 Yell Leaders share their personal journies, passion for serving Texas A&M By Taylor Fennell @taylorpaige1299
hat started as five Corps fish in janitor uniforms entertaining the dates of upperclassmen at a football game in 1907 has evolved into a crucial role of ambassador for the university, voice of the student body and bridge between athletes and fans. Yell Leaders are unique to Texas A&M and, similar to other campus staples, are rooted in tradition. The 20182019 Yell Leaders, Gavin Suel, Connor Joseph, Blake Jones, Karsten Lowe and Reid Williams, were elected by the student body in February and have the responsibility of leading the 12th Man in yells at athletic events, spreading the Aggie Spirit and promoting traditions. The five Yell Leaders form a rare bond throughout their term, as their duties lead them to spend a substantial amount of time together. According to Gavin Suel, Head Yell Leader and university studies senior, the group travels to any event that aligns with the Yell Leaders’ mission: to promote and perpetuate the Aggie Spirit. In addition to athletic events, the group makes appearances at New Student Conferences, Transfer Student Conferences, Fish Camps, Transfer Camps and Aggie Moms Club meetings. According to Suel, the group attended about 100 events last summer. Suel said he was inspired to run for Yell Leader after meeting former Yell Leader Chris Wilder, Class of 2017, while eating lunch in Duncan Dining Hall his freshman year. “He sat down next to me, just randomly at lunch, and just had this conversation and really cared about me and wanted to get to know who I was,” Suel said. “I thought that was the coolest thing ever, because I was just some nobody. A couple weeks later, we just saw each other in
passing on the Quad and he remembered my name and that, right there, just stuck with me. I just thought it was so cool, like this guy I just put on such a pedestal would remember my name and care about me. I wanted to be able to have that same impact on other people.” Reid Williams, business administration junior, said it is special to lead the 12th Man with his friends, especially Connor Joseph, who inspired him to run for Yell Leader. “I saw [Joseph] go through his junior year and see the impact he had on people,” Williams said. “You have a greater responsibility within the university. You’re an ambassador for the students and you can also be a shining light. I saw him go above and beyond the Yell Leader position and pursue relationships with others, which is so valuable.” Yell Leaders convey important messages through their various appearances and events, according to Joseph, agricultural economics senior. He said the role is about making a difference, not simply leading yells. “All five of us share the responsibility of being ambassadors for the Aggie Spirit and for empowering others and inspiring others to the Aggie Spirit, whether that’s rekindling that in former students, keeping that alive in current students or sparking that in prospective students,” Joseph said. “That is our responsibility to be that representation.” Joseph said Yell Leaders are able to create connections between people who would not usually be able to interact with each other. “Another responsibility is being the portal from the general student body to the student athletes, connecting the two and striving to bridge that gap and show the athletes just how much we appreciate what they do and support them,” Joseph said. Blake Jones, industrial distribution senior, said his favorite aspect of being a Yell Leader is meeting Aggies from different backgrounds. “It’s amazing when people come up to you and talk to you and you just get to know them, and as a Yell Leader you have a lot of interactions with a lot of different
Reid Williams, Blake Jones, Gavin Suel, Connor Jospeh and Karsten Lowe will serve as the 2018-2019 Yell Leaders.
people,” Jones said. “Sometimes you get those moments where, just with an inch-deep interaction, you can really connect with somebody and you get to build small connections with so many different people. You just get to meet so many amazing Aggies from all over campus.” Karsten Lowe, industrial distribution junior, said each Yell Leader has a different background which makes them unique. “My parents actually were t-sips down in Austin, so I really didn’t know too much about Aggies,” Lowe said. “I didn’t really know I wanted to do this. I didn’t even think I had a calling to do it. But whenever the Corps block process started off, a lot of people were like, ‘Well, you have a passion for this university. You love people and you’re such high-energy all the time, I think you’d be good at this role.’” Lowe said the Yell Leaders’ diverse backstories prove anyone can serve the university if they work hard enough. “I think my experiences show that though [I am] a Yell Leader, I’m not necessarily the sixth generation Aggie who is coming through and has been bred to be an Aggie, but it shows that Aggies can come from anywhere,” Lowe said. “So long as you have a passion for this university, it doesn’t matter who you are. You can serve in this capacity.” Joseph, the fourth in his family to hold the position of Yell Leader, said the role is special because A&M is so meaningful to his family. “The transition from being in my family to being in the Aggie Family was pretty smooth because all of my family [members were] already Aggies,” Joseph said. “It seemed like the purest way possible to step in front of so many people and unify so many.” Joseph said becoming a Yell Leader was one of the best ways he could leave a mark on the university. “A&M is something I have a passion for and being a Yell Leader was the avenue through which I saw bringing together the most people for a common good and to support each other,” Joseph said.
“This time in your life is where you have the most opportunity to develop yourself, spread your network, spread your friend group, expand on things and get involved in ways that you’ll never be able to for the rest of your life. I would say just take advantage of everything A&M has to offer.” Gavin Suel, university studies senior
“Do not be afraid to ask questions. It doesn’t matter who it is, if it’s another freshman, the student body president or whoever you come across. Be bold, ask questions, find out what you’re passionate about and where you can invest your time.” Connor Jospeh, agricultural economics senior
“I think A&M is a huge place and it can be easy to feel lost, but every time you get a chance to participate in something, just do it and embrace it. You’ll never know when you’re going to meet someone that could be your best friend that you’re coming back to campus with in 30 years.” Blake Jones, industrial distribution senior
“The biggest thing is to know about all the homework that’s building up and stay on top of it. The night before isn’t always going to cut it, and that’s when you’ll let the stress get to you. Work in advance.” Karsten Lowe, industrial distribution junior
“I encourage you to seek out community, wherever that is. Get involved, whether that’s the Corps of Cadets, a FLO, a sorority or fraternity. Seek out relationships with other people and really buy into what Texas A&M has to offer.” Reid Williams, business administration junior Cassie Stricker — THE BATTALION
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“Keepers of the Spirit” Corps leaders discuss their goals for the upcoming year By Jordan Burnham @RJordanBurnham
he Corps of Cadets has produced leaders for the past 142 years, and the 2018-2019 Corps leadership will seek to embody fundamental Corps values while also increasing academic success. Among those selected to serve are rising Corps Commander Adam Buckley, rising Deputy Corps Commander Ennis Rios, rising Chief of Staff Ashley Ralph and rising Deputy Corps Commander Luke Thomas. Adam Buckley, political science and Russian junior, will serve as Corps Commander for the upcoming school year. This position puts him in charge of everything Corps related, from attending football games, to military trainings and everything in between. Buckley said he is excited to work with the new leadership team for the upcoming year and plans to focus on making what the Corps already has in place work as well as possible. “For me, the Corps is all about leadership development and as soon as we stop developing really solid leaders for the workplace, for the military, then we kinda lose our purpose and we lose the great product that we’ve been supplying to the state and to the country for
forever,” Buckley said. “For me, it’s all about putting cadets in place where they can practice leadership, so I want to put as many people as possible in positions where they can try and lead and learn from that experience.” Buckley said one of the biggest challenges he faced as a cadet was the passing of his mother during his freshman year. “That was probably the biggest trial that I had to face, but through that I learned a ton about myself, and then through the way that people who were in charge of me at that time handled my situation and managed me I learned a ton about leadership through that,” Buckley said. “That’s been the biggest trial, but since then I’ve learned a ton from it and I think it’s made me a better person.” Ashley Ralph, agricultural economics junior, will serve as chief of staff for the upcoming school year. According to Ralph, Buckley establishes the vision and goals for the Corps, and she works with Corps staff to establish the policies that are then implemented. “It’s a really cool position to be able to impact change across the entire Corps, and not just one aspect,” Ralph said. “It’s really a neat position for me that I didn’t even know I wanted.” According to Ralph, her great grandfather served as Corps Commander in 1923 and her grandfather led as a unit commander, which was a big influence on her decision to pursue Corps lead-
ership. “Between the two of them it’s kind of been a family tradition, to be in the Corps and to push for great things in the Corps,” Ralph said. Ennis Rios, geographic information science and technology junior, will be the deputy corps commander. Ennis served in the Navy from 1999-2015 before deciding to pursue a degree. Rios said being in Delta Company, a combat veteran unit, will allow unique insight for the upcoming year. “I learned a lot about leadership in the Navy, at all levels,” Rios said. “Being a follower first, but being a good follower and then learning how to lead others to follow you and then leading throughout 16 years in the Navy, that was probably the biggest preparation.” Luke Thomas, industrial distribution sophomore, will serve as sergeant major for the 2018-2019 school year and will be responsible for the Corps staff and the rest of the sergeant majors in the Corps. Thomas said it is an honor to be able to serve in this capacity, and is looking forward to working under Buckley. “We are definitely looking to heavily emphasize scholastics again, and make sure every kid is prepared, going into the classroom, to succeed,” Thomas said. “There’s a heavy emphasis on career readiness and making sure everyone takes it seriously, even if they’re contracted.”
Photos by Cassie Stricker — THE BATTALION
Corps Commander Adam Buckley, Chief of Staff Ashley Ralph, Deputy Corps Commander Luke Thomas and Deputy Corps Commander Ennis Rios will serve in Corps leadership roles for the 2018-2019 school year.
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MEET THE DEANS OF EACH TEXAS A&M COLLEGE M. KATHERINE BANKS College of Engineering
ELI JONES Mays Business School
li Jones has been a professor and dean at Texas A&M since July 1, 2015. He completed his Bachelor of Science in journalism, Master of Business Administration and his Ph.D. in marketing at A&M in 1982, 1986 and 1997, respectively. At A&M, he has worked to improve the inclusion of all students by working with the Mays Business School’s Strategic Planning Initiative Steering Committee to strategize new ways to integrate diversity and inclusion throughout the school, specifically in entrepreneurship, energy and sustainability and healthcare. In 2016, Jones received the lifetime achievement award from the American Marketing Association’s Sales Special Interest Group for his published work on the study of sales. He has also been selected to be a part of The Ph.D. Project’s Hall of Fame and was listed in Savoy Magazine’s Power 300: “The Most Influential Black Corporate Directors.”
Katherine Banks joined A&M in 2012 as the first woman ever to serve as dean of engineering. She received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Florida, her master’s from the University of North California and her Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from Duke University. Along with her responsibilities as dean, Banks also oversees the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, Engineering Extension Service and Transportation Institute. As both the Harold J. Haynes Dean’s Chair and the Dean of Engineering, Banks heads over 16,900 students and 500 faculty members. The 25 by 25 program, which aims for a target enrollment of 25,000 students across A&M’s engineering programs by 2025, was spearheaded by Banks. One of the many awards she has earned is the Margaret S. Petersen Outstanding Woman of the Year award from the American Society of Civil Engineers.
PATRICK STOVER College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
atrick Strover joined A&M in 2018 after serving as director of Cornell University’s Division of Nutritional Sciences. He received his doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biophysics from the Medical College of Virginia and completed his postdoctoral studies in nutritional science at the University of California at Berkeley. In his position at A&M, Stover presides over more than 7,800 students and 400 faculty members across 14 departments. Strover said he wants to continue building opportunities for collaboration between research programs all over the world to develop and expand new ideas in AgriLife.
All information and photos courtesy of the colleges’ websites.
By Sanna Bhai @BhaiSanna
DR. CARRIE L. BYINGTON College of Medicine
r. Carrie L. Byington received her Bachelor of Science in biology from A&M and Doctor of Medicine from Baylor College of Medicine. In the years that followed, Byington focused on research on bacterial and viral respiratory pathogens in children. She has received awards in the field of pediatric medicine and was elected as a member of the National Academy of Medicine and National Academy of Investors. At A&M, her areas of focus include improving the health of rural populations, enhancing care to active duty military and veterans and working with the engineering department to develop new innovations in healthcare. As Senior Vice President of the Health Science Center, Byington supervises the Colleges of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and Public Health.
JORGE A. VANEGAS College of Architecture A. Vanegas joined A&M as an arJorge chitecture professor in 2006 and was
appointed dean in July 2011. He received his master’s degree and his Ph.D. from Stanford University in construction engineering and management. His academic and professional pursuits have three major areas of focus: innovation, environmental sustainability and advanced strategies for integrated capital asset delivery and management in the fields of architecture, engineering and construction. Vanegas has received multiple awards for his work around the world, including his induction into the Pan American Academy of Engineering in 2010.
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JOYCE ALEXANDER College of Education and Human Development
ELEANOR M. GREEN College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
PAMELA MATTHEWS College of Liberal Arts
rior to being appointed dean at A&M in 2009, Eleanor amela Matthews has been a faculty member of the Alexander was appointed as dean in June 2015 Joyce P M. Green was one of the faculty members who helped P A&M English department since 1989. She received after working at Indiana University Bloomington since found the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi her Ph.D. in English from Duke University. Matthews has 1992, serving as chair of the department of counseling and educational psychology for six of those years and ending her time there as executive associate dean. Alexander earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from Texas Wesleyan University and her master’s and Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Georgia. Alexander’s research primarily focuses on children’s development and motivation. Her most prominent work analyzes the growth of scientific interest from early childhood through age 18.
State University. Green received her undergraduate degree in animal science from the University of Florida and her doctorate in veterinary medicine from Auburn University. Throughout her career, she applied her expertise in veterinary medicine at the Universities of Missouri, Tennessee and Florida. Along with her contributions to these universities, Green has served as president for the American Association of Equine Practitioners, American Board of Veterinary Practitioners and the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians. One of Green’s most recent awards is the 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award for Administration at A&M.
MEIGAN ARONSON College of Science
eigan Aronson accepted the position as dean in 2007, leaving the position of associate dean for natural sciences in the College of Literature, Science and Arts at the University of Michigan, which she had held since 2004. Aronson earned her undergraduate degree in physics at Bryn Mawr College and her master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. Currently, she is the chair for the External Advisory Committee at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. At A&M, Aronson contributes to her lab, where her research focuses on the discovery and characterization of quantum materials with an emphasis on discovering new superconductors.
held positions as director of women’s and gender studies, associate dean for undergraduate programs in the College of Liberal Arts, associate provost for undergraduate studies and vice provost for academic affairs. In April 2015, Matthews was appointed dean. She also takes part in activities that interact with the broader community such as Brazos Valley Reads, which she founded.
DEBBIE THOMAS College of Geosciences
ebbie Thomas is the interim dean of the College of Geosciences. She served as head of the department of oceanography for three years and has been a faculty member in the department since 2004. Thomas earned her Bachelor of Science in geological sciences from Brown University and both her Master of Science in marine sciences and Ph.D. in geological sciences from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Thomas is a distinguished lecturer recognized by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, and a recipient of both the Montague Center for Teaching Excellence Scholar Award and College’s Distinguished Achievement Teaching Award from The Association of Former Students.
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Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher will make his debut on Aug. 30 against Northwestern State.
Cassie Stricker — THE BATTALION
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Jimbo Fisher puts the coaching pieces together
Meet the 2018-2019 Texas A&M football coaching staff before the season starts By Ryan MacDonald @Ryan_Macdonald2
fter another football season fell short of expectations, Texas A&M Athletic Director Scott Woodward elected to make a head coaching change, axing previous head coach Kevin Sumlin and bringing in Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher. Sumlin capped his tenure with a 51-26 record over six seasons in Aggieland. After a brief coaching search, it was clear Woodward only had Fisher’s name on his mind. Woodward was able to lure Fisher away from Florida State, but had to shell out a fully guaranteed, 10-year $75 million contract in order to do so. Upon his arrival, Fisher’s first task was to assemble a coaching staff. Fisher brought three coaches with him from Florida State: running backs coach Jay Graham, wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig and tight ends coach and recruiting guru Tim Brewster. A standout SEC running back himself, Jay Graham comes to A&M after five years under Fisher as a running backs and special teams coach. His counterpart, Dameyune Craig, comes to Aggieland after just one season at Florida State where he served as an offensive analyst. Craig also served stints at his alma mater, Auburn, and LSU. Nationally renowned recruiter Tim Brewster joined the staff after serving five years under Fisher and boasts a 30-plus-year coaching career at both
the collegiate and professional levels. Fisher retained defensive ends coach Terry Price, a member of the Aggie coaching staff since 2012, and offensive line coach Jim Turner. An A&M coach from 2008-2011, Turner left to work with the Miami Dolphins from 2012-2013 and returned to Aggieland in 2016. Fisher said he was already familiar with Price prior to accepting the A&M head coaching job and a major reason for Price’s retainment was his experience and familiarity with the university. “I’ve known and coached against [Price] for many years,” Fisher said in an interview with KBTX. “I went against him for many, many years. He did a great job at his position. Recruited very well and when you met him he was a personable guy. A great guy. Plus, he’s an Aggie.” Fisher said he retained Turner due to his experience sending players such as Luke Joeckel, Jake Matthews and Germain Ifedi to the NFL. “Jim Turner does a great job up front,” Fisher said. “You watch the linemen in the past that he had here, with all those first round tackles and things he did and going to the NFL and came back and you watch the offensive line play last year. I think Jim is one of the best in the business.” After solidifying the coaches he would take with him from Florida State and those he would retain at A&M, Fisher went on a nationwide search for the last five coaches and his strength and conditioning coach. When all was said and done, Fisher landed offensive coordinator Darrell Dickey from Memphis, defensive coordinator Mike Elko from Notre Dame, cornerbacks
coach Maurice Linguist from Minnesota, linebackers coach Bradley Dale Peveto from Ole Miss and defensive line coach Elijah Robinson from Baylor. Fisher also added strength and conditioning coach Jerry Schmidt, who served in the same position at Oklahoma for the past 18 seasons. The new coaching additions made their presence felt in the recruiting cycle, despite having a very short turnaround with the new early Signing Day period. Robinson was added to the staff on Jan. 27 and National Signing Day was on Feb. 7, less than two weeks later. A&M finished with the No. 13 recruiting ranking in the 2017 class, according to 247Sports. Fisher said the successful recruiting came from his ability to sell players on the atmosphere of the university. “With the people here at Texas A&M, once we get them on campus we’re going to have a heck of a shot,” Fisher said. “People always say, ‘Oh it’s because of the facilities.’ No, it’s the people here at Texas A&M. That’s the thing that has impressed me the most since I’ve been here, the genuineness of the people and the true culture of this university.” The coaches had a short timetable to instill their techniques and schemes into their new players as they went through spring season, however they were pleased with the overall result. “Spring is over,” Fisher said. “I liked the progress we made as far as understanding how we want to compete and deal with adversity and deal with success.” The new A&M staff will make their first regular season appearance on Aug. 30 as the Aggies take on Northwestern State.
THE BATTALION MAROON LIFE 29
00-00 Photos by Meredith Seaver, Carlie Russell, Kevin Chou and FILE — THE BATTALION
Rivalries fuel good football and Texas A&M has rivalries all around the college football nation.
Rivalry 101: The teams to despise more than the others By Alex Miller @AlexMill20
LSU Tigers The Aggies and Tigers have always been long-standing rivals, especially in football. Unfortunately, it has been 23 years since the maroon and white were victorious against the purple and gold on the gridiron. The thing that makes LSU so good is the simplicity of their game — they play old-school football. For all you beginners, this is called smash-mouth football, a style which has been used for decades, especially among SEC teams. While schools have trended away from these schemes in recent years, the Tigers have stayed true to old ways, and for the most part, they work — especially against A&M. Maybe, just maybe, things will change in your time at A&M.
Arkansas Razorbacks For some reason, Arkansas always gives A&M an exciting game, but is never able to come out on top. Since joining the SEC in 2012, the Razorbacks are the only division opponent the Aggies are undefeated against. A&M and Arkansas play at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, and are scheduled to compete there through 2024, meaning that’s where the Aggies will meet the Hogs for each of your four years in Aggieland. Though Jerry Jones once played for the Razorbacks, it is evident he hasn’t been able to buy a win for his alma mater.
Alabama Crimson Tide Alabama — the royalty of college football. Its king — Nick Saban. Alabama has won five of the last eight national titles, and has been in the national championship game in seven of the last eight seasons. Consistent winning brings spiteful opponents, and Alabama has a track record of spoiling fantastic season starts for A&M. Since Johnny Manziel led A&M to its monumental win in Tuscaloosa back in 2012 — which propelled him to the forefront of the Heisman race — Alabama has taken the last five meetings with the Aggies. However, maybe A&M will turn the ways of old soon. I mean, no king can rule forever, right?
Texas Longhorns Fact: A&M does not play Texas in football anymore. Also fact: Texas is still (kinda) a rival. The Aggies and Longhorns squared off during the Thanksgiving holiday for 96 years, before the two parted ways after the Aggies left for the SEC. A&M and Texas still compare themselves to one another, but when you get to the nitty gritty, it’s clear who has, by far, been the better football team in the past five years — A&M, the first public institution of higher education established in the state of Texas. The ‘Sips have struggled and stumbled to a (31-32) record, and even lost to Kansas two years ago — Kansas, who had lost 19 straight conference games before that. There are constant rumors on both sides that A&M and Texas may one day play again, but don’t get your hopes up, because it’s not happening in the next four years. So sit back, relax and enjoy watching America’s most arrogant team continue to fail.
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THE BATTALION MAROON LIFE 31
TICKET PULLING 101 The ins and outs of how students secure their seats for Aggie football games at Kyle Field By Abigail Ochoa @AbigailOchoa
ith the 2018 football season quickly approaching, here’s what students need to know about pulling tickets and what is different about pulling tickets for the start of this upcoming football season. Similar to past years, tickets will be distributed in descending order, starting with seniors and graduate students on Monday and ending with freshman on Thursday. On Fridays any classification can pull, as well as students who do not own a sports pass. The ticket office will open at 7 a.m. and students are not allowed to wait in line before 5 a.m., according to Jon Lee, interim vice president for marketing and communications at the 12th Man Foundation. Once they reach the ticket window, students must have their Texas A&M student ID and their sports pass ready to show staff. However, if the student is pulling for a group, they must have their student ID and sports pass, along with the sports pass of each group member. Since one student can pull up to 10 tickets, if the student is pulling for a group of 10 or less, half of the sports passes must have the classification for the day they are pulling. If the group has 11 or more, the group can be any classification and the students can pull from Monday at 7 a.m. to Tuesday at 5 p.m. For example, if a group of 11 or more freshmen wanted to pull as a group, they would be able to pull with graduate students and seniors on Monday or with juniors on Tuesday. Groups of 11 or more are automatically placed on the third deck, starting in Section 341. Each student must have their student ID present when entering each foot- ball game along with their ticket. Students may purchase a guest ticket for full price when pulling a ticket for themselves, or they can convert a student ticket into a guest ticket which has varying prices each game. If the ticket is converted, a guest label will be placed on the ticket and needs to be accompanied by that student ID when entering the game. However, if the student purchases a guest ticket at the window when they pull their ticket, their
guest does not need an ID when reaching the gate. Lee said the 12th Man Foundation or the official Aggie football Twitter will tweet out if guest tickets will be available for a particular game. “Whether or not tickets will be available that week will be determined based on the demand of the student base,” Lee said. “Everybody with a sports pass is guaranteed a seat for that game. We have to make sure we allow tickets for everybody who has a sports pass.”
Although there are no new rules for ticket pulling this upcoming football season, Lee said staying updated on ticket pulling protocol is important for students, especially during the first game of the 2018 season, since it will take place on a Thursday. Lee said the 12th Man Foundation is working with the athletic department, as well as the entire campus, to ensure a revised ticket pulling schedule will be given to students for the season opener against Northwestern State. “Those details are still being worked out,” Lee said. “We’re working collaboratively with the athletic department, and actually with units from all across campus. Opening game is campus wide planning that’s going on. That won’t be ready till this summer, but we’ll have information out about the Thursday game soon. That’s really the major change this year.” For more information and to stay updated on ticket pulling visit 12thmanfoundation. com or 12thmanfoundation. com/students.
Each week of a home football game, students with sports passes have the option to pull tickets for the east side or south end zone of Kyle Field. FILE
THE BATTALION MAROON LIFE 33
Entertainment in Aggieland Places to go for a fun night out with friends in College Station By Deborah Anderaos @deborahanderaos
Casey O’Neal — THE BATTALION
Among others, Northgate, Painting With a Twist and Grand Station are a few of the places to go in College Station for a night out.
ollege Station may be a small town, but it is filled with options of fun things to do throughout the week. Movie theaters, restaurants, games, and if you’re feeling creative, places such as Painting With a Twist offer a unique night out. Northgate, the local bar district located off University Drive, offers more than just places to drink. It also includes restaurants and the Northgate Juice Joint, if you want a healthy treat. Home to The Dixie Chicken, the oldest bar on Northgate, the district offers plenty of places to grab food and chat with friends. Grand Station is the largest entertainment venue in Brazos County, according to their website. Bowling, laser tag, minigolf, arcade games and a food court are some of the attractions they offer, with various daily deals available. The discounts include their Monday and Tuesday $10 special from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m., which includes unlimited bowling, laser tag, mini-golf and half-price virtual reality games. Wednesdays are Ladies Nights, where women get to play all activities free of charge. Wednesday through Friday you can have unlimited bowling, laser tag and mini-golf for $15. On Sundays, Grand Station has a $12 special for unlimited bowling, laser tag and mini-golf as well. Sydney Rowatt, biomedical science junior, said she goes to Grand Station every Tuesday with the Best Buddies organization to watch them bowl. Best Buddies is a university recognized service organization at Texas A&M. According to their website, the Best Buddies strive to enhance the special needs community through one-on-one friendships. “Every Tuesday night, Best Buddies
goes for a bowling tournament where they have brackets and play on teams against each other,” Rowatt said. “I already loved Grand Station, so I enjoy getting to go once a week and have fun helping out with this organization and getting to bowl.” Rowatt said she likes Grand Station because the prices don’t break the bank and it’s a great environment to go to with a group of friends for a fun day out of the house. If a night of games isn’t what you’re up for, you can get in touch with your artistic side and learn some new skills at a not-so-typical art studio called Painting with a Twist. If you’re 21-and-up, you can take painting classes and bring any type of wine or beer to sip on while you paint. Refrigeration options, chill bags, cups and wine openers are provided so you can sip happily while painting. The studio offers different canvas sizes, wine glasses and screen art to create. Kim Augsburger, owner of the College Station location, said their most popular canvas is the 16-by-20. This canvas includes a two or three-hour art session and over 8,000 design options to choose from their art library. “People come in all the time and say they can’t even draw a stick figure, so they think they wouldn’t be good at this kind of art,” Augsburger said. “We like to say, ‘It’s fun art not fine art.’ We will teach you step by step and stroke by stroke. That way when our customers leave they are going home with a product they like and are proud of.” Rowatt said she loves the array of entertainment choices that College Station offers. “College Station may seem like a small town, but don’t underestimate the fun this town offers you and your friends,” Rowatt said.
THE BATTALION MAROON LIFE 35
You don’t need a car to go far in Aggieland Transportation Services provides alternative student travel options By Gracie Mock & Brad Morse @g_mock2 & @BradSMorse53
Photos by Casey Dawson — THE BATTALION
Students have multiple options when it comes to transportation to and from campus, including buses, bike share programs and personal vehicles.
rom driving, taking a bus, biking or walking, there are numerous ways for students to travel to and from campus. Melissa Maraj, marketing and communications manager for Transportation Services, said a large number of Aggies do not bring a personal vehicle to campus with them, so the department has different ways for them to get around. “Transportation Services offers many alternatives to driving on campus, including our recently launched ofo bike share system that, by fall, will have thousands of dockless bikes for use on campus,” Maraj said. “With more than 6,000 registered users and over 26,800 rides taken since we launched the system on Feb. 27, bike share is quickly becoming the best way to get around our 5,200 acre campus. Other alternative transportation options include our car share, ride share, Park and Ride and transit programs.” Nathaniel Fasolino, aerospace engineering sophomore, said he bikes approximately 2.5 miles from his house to campus every day. “When I bought my parking pass, the only lot available was Lot 100,” Fasolino said. “It actually takes me less time to bike from home than it would for me to drive to Lot 100 then bike to the north side of campus from the lot.” Even in bad weather, Fasolino said he prefers to bike and has a plan for rainy days. “I put on my raincoat and my backpack’s plastic cover and ride my bike,” Fasolino said. “I always end up soaked by the time I get to class, but it’s better than trying to find a spot in Lot 100, then biking from there.” For those who don’t bike or drive to class, the on-campus bus system allows them to go from one side of campus to the other, or even off campus. Isaiah Hernandez, biomedical sciences freshman, said taking the bus is his preferred method of transportation. “[The shuttle] comes pretty often, and it’s pretty fast,” Hernandez said. “And no parking is necessary. It’s like a two or
three minute walk from where I live. [My total commute] is like 20 minutes, max.” While on the shuttle, Hernandez said he reads or checks social media on his phone. When on campus, Hernadez said he prefers to walk from building to building since his classes are all close to one another. Hernandez said weekends are the only times he would consider a different method of transportation. “If there was tutoring hours on Sundays or Saturdays [I wouldn’t use the buses], because the bus schedule only runs until 6 p.m., so I wouldn’t be able to get back home easily,” Hernandez said. Another alternative to biking or taking the bus is walking. Andrew Pang, industrial distribution sophomore, said he enjoys the walks from his apartment to class. “I walk to campus every day,” Pang said. “I live at U-Center, which is not too far from campus and it’s really convenient.” According to Pang, the day of the week has an effect on the time it takes him to commute. However, there are instances where he uses the bus because the walk to class would be too long. “If it’s my class on main campus, it’s about a 20 to 25 minute walk,” Pang said. “If it’s to West Campus, it’s about a 15 to 20 minute walk to the bus stop, then I catch the bus to West Campus. I would say if [walking to class] is 45 or more minutes, that’s too long.” When it comes to walking in bad weather, Pang said he sometimes braves the storm with a rain coat or umbrella, but on days he only has one class, he often stays at home, unless he can get a ride from a friend. Both Hernandez and Pang said they think the recently introduced ofo bicycles are a good alternative to storing a bike on campus. “I think [they’re] great,” Pang said. “I think it’s working out the best and it’s a great method of transportation.” Looking back on his freshman year, Pang said he realizes he had nothing to worry about in regards to transportation. According to Pang, getting from home to campus and from class to class is easy, due to the many accessible transportation options.
THE BATTALION MAROON LIFE 37
Texas A&M is home to over 1,000 student organizations By Hannah Falcon @hannahfalcon_
ith over 1,000 student organizations and more being created every semester, students at Texas A&M have ample opportunity to get involved in something they are passionate about. The Fall 2018 MSC Open House is scheduled to take place on Sunday, Sept. 2, and will give students a chance to check out some of the organizations available to A&M students. MaroonLink provides a database of these organizations, as well as providing contact information for them. The variety of organizations at A&M range from Freshman Leadership Organizations (FLOs), career organizations and organizations with a specialized focus on certain hobbies or activities. Tyler Sellers, assistant director of Student Organization and Development Administration, said there are countless benefits to getting involved in an organization while in college. Sellers said he believes joining an organization enriches a student’s overall education and provides the opportunity to socialize and make friends. “I think organizations provide a testing ground and an opportunity to put a lot of what you’re learning in the classroom into the real world, whether it’s business related or it’s planning events,” Sellers said. “A lot of these organizations exist around those topics and can help you network and connect with other students that are interested in those pursuits, but it also provides tons of opportunity for leadership application and social interaction.” Travis Askew, graduate assistant for MaroonLink, said he would advise students to get involved in
one or two organizations they are passionate about and seek a leadership position to further enrich the experience. “There’s definitely a balance,” Askew said. “Going through school without getting involved at all has a negative impact, because maybe your GPA is a 4.0 but you weren’t getting a lot of those outside applications of your knowledge thrown in with your education.” Anna Hebel, business freshman and member of Christian Business Leaders, said she values her organization because it has prepared her to enter the professional realm. Hebel said Christian Business Leaders provides professional development workshops to teach members business skills such as accounting or golfing. “We have to dress business casual for the meetings so I think it gives me professional experience,” Hebel said. “I take notes and stuff like that too so I feel like being in a business environment now will be helpful when I get into the business world.” In addition to professional development, Christian Business Leaders also provides members opportunities to socialize and volunteer in the community, according to Hebel. “I’m in the outreach committee — everybody has a committee, so my committee does community service,” Hebel said, “So we’ll have little extra things, like we did Big Event together and we’re gonna do a Haiti meal pack.” Megan Bell, telecommunication freshman, is a member of Aggies Selflessly Serving In Shaping Tomorrow (ASSIST), a service FLO. Bell said the application process for FLOs starts by attending the allFLO informational at the beginning of the fall semester. Afterwards, interested freshmen fill out applications for the FLOs they want to join and FLOs contact the freshmen who make it to the interview phase.
FLOs can be social or service based, but most have aspects of both, according to Bell. “ASSIST is a mainly service FLO,” Bell said, “We’ve done Hurricane Harvey relief down in Katy, Texas. We’ve done Operation Blessing in Beaumont after Hurricane Harvey. One of the best things about ASSIST is that every year they have something called BOP, which is the Big Ol’ Project, and we get to plan a service project.” Bell said being involved in ASSIST has made A&M feel smaller to her. “Because Texas A&M is so huge, I never felt comfortable until I got close with the people in ASSIST and it made Texas A&M go from 70,000 student population to like 65 people,” Bell said. Molly Janak, interdisciplinary studies freshman, is a member of Century Singers, one of the three choirs at A&M. In order to become a member of any of the choirs, students must audition by singing for the directors, according to Janak. She said Century Singers have social events in addition to singing. “We have things called TNFT, which is Thursday Night Fun Things, so every Thursday we have a different activity that’s planned by one of the officers,” Janak said. “We have paint wars, ice skating or we went to see Black Panther, so every week it’s something different.” While getting involved is important, students sometimes overcommit to too many organizations and end up spreading themselves too thin, according to Sellers. “I think it’s a progression of narrowing down [organizations] to find that one that you’re really passionate about or you really want to devote your time to,” Sellers said. “Once you start to have more involvement and maybe step into some leadership roles you need to begin to focus that engagement.”
Meredith Seaver — THE BATTALION
Christian Business Leaders is one of over 1,000 organizations students can join on campus.
THE BATTALION MAROON LIFE 38
Calling all entrepreneurs
By Megan Rodriguez @MeganLRodriguez
Students with a love for business can find a home in a wide variety of organizations and programs created specifically to equip them for their entrepreneurial ventures. With opportunities for every major, Aggies can dive into business knowing they have the resources and support they need at their fingertips.
McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship
What they do: The center aims to be the hub of entrepreneurship at Texas A&M, according to Kennedy Porter, student coordinator for events and management senior. The center is home to over 27 programs for students, some of which emphasize the development of ideas, assistance with networking and funding for startups. “We’re really working to get our hands in every single depart“We’re m ent and really be there as a student resource for any entrepreneur ment rregardless egardless of college, classification, major, et cetera,” Porter said. “All tthese hese programs are really built for students to be able to work their way to actually building a business through all four years of their time here at Texas A&M. It really is beneficial for students because we really do have a crazy number of resources available from funding, from workshops, all those kinds of activities.” How to get involved: Students looking to learn more about the various programs can visit mays.tamu.edu/mcferrin-center-for-entrepreneurship for details on everything they offer.
2 3 Blackstone LaunchPad
3 Day Startup
What they do: This program is one of many in the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship. Located in Koldus Suite 105 and at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, BLP assists and mentors students, faculty, staff and former students. Their goal is to promote one-onone mentorship, a committed community, resources and online tools, according to their website. Other universities within Blackstone LaunchPad’s network include New York University, Cornell University and the University of Texas. Grace Tsai, anthropology Ph.D. candidate, has participated in competitions offered by BLP and said the experience was beneficial for various reasons. “It puts you in touch with a global network of other universities,” Tsai said. “That is always really helpful. I think there are a lot of great resources that Blackstone LaunchPad offers to both graduate students and undergrad students.”
What they do: 3DS is an interactive experience offered through the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, where students start a business within 72 hours and create a presentation of their plan to gain feedback from a panel of professionals in the industry. This program is offered in the fall and spring and requires students to apply to participate. All participants must attend “3 Day Startup Boot Camp” to learn entrepreneurial principles and practices before being involved. Diego Contreras, business honors sophomore, is a previous participant. “Trying to get all the fine tuning of a business together in three days is very hard, especially with people you are just meeting for the first time,” Contreras said. That’s kind of one of the things I love about entrepreneurship is that you can go in with this amazing idea, you have to sell it to other people in the first place, then you fail early, you fail often and you just learn from those failures. At the end of the three days you have this amazing product and you get to present it and it just felt amazing after the entire process.”
How to get involved: Tsai said students interested in BLP should subscribe to their email list to see regular updates on opportunities offered by the program in addition to reaching out to the organizers for more information. Contacts and office hours for BLP can be found on the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship website and blackstonelaunchpad.org.
How to get involved: Students looking to learn more or apply to 3DS can visit 3daystartup.org for additional information.
4 5 6
Student Business Owners Association
What they do: This business incubator and accelerator is located in the Mays Business School and run by the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, according to their website. The facility offers rent-free office space, parking, Wi-Fi and mentorship to aspiring business owners. While applications are rolling, interviews are held at the end of the fall and spring semesters. During her time at A&M, McCalley Cunningham, Class of 2018, developed four businesses with teams at Startup Aggieland. “They are helping students make a dream a reality,” Cunningham said. “There are a lot of businesses that have come through that have been successful, that have been invested in, that have been funded and now they’re operating and going to do what they need to do. Even if by the end you don’t come up with a business idea or don’t end up executing that, the experience you have and the people you meet you will never forget because you’re going to use it for life.”
What they do: This student-run organization started one year ago and the 20182019 school year will be its first year with a university recognized status. The organization’s goal is to assist students who already own businesses generating a revenue, according to Scott Webber, SBOA president and management senior. The organization does not require students to pay dues and currently has approximately 30 members. “The heart of what we do is we are connecting students with each other from any part of the university, be it engineering, be it liberal arts, be it med science, whoever it is,” Webber said. “If they generate $5 a month to $3,000 a month, it is who we are looking to bring into our community. We’re looking to help them with whatever they need when it comes to business.”
What they do: Through their programs and events, Engineering Entrepreneurship helps students understand business principles from an engineering perspective, according to their website. In order to accomplish this mission, Engineering Entrepreneurship uses four phases named Spark, Discover, Prepare and Launch, according to Rodney Boehm, director of Engineering Entrepreneurship. During the Spark phase, students can participate in programs such as Aggies Invent to gain experience and find out if they want to be an entrepreneur. During Discover, students will conduct customer discovery to find out if people are receptive to an idea before moving on to the Prepare phase where participants can take classes and work with mentors at the incubator. Finally, students can take courses to help them launch their business in the last phase. Students can get involved in any phase where their business best fits.
How to get involved: To learn more or apply to join the program, students can visit the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship and startupaggieland.com.
How to get involved: Student business owners can learn more information and apply to be in SBOA at tx.ag/sboa. The only requirement to join is to own a business that generates any amount of revenue, according to Webber.
How to get involved: Students can learn more by attending their open houses during Howdy Week and the first week of school by visiting their website at engineering.tamu.edu/programs/eep.
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