Maroon Life — New Students Guide 2024

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the GARDENS Apartments fully-furnished apartments conveniently located on campus near the Engineering complex and the Polo Road Rec Center next to the shops and restaurants of Century Square
chemical engineering student, we have the Jack E. Brown Engineering building.
can see that outside my window. There’s very few places that offer that proximity. It’s been
happy place.”
on cover: Public health junior
receives her Aggie Ring on Thursday, April 11, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Nandana Nair


I arrived at Texas A&M as an overwhelmed, excited sophomore transfer student from Blinn (Go Bucs). It took me about an entire semester to feel comfortable walking around campus without pulling out Google Maps to remember where my classes were. My excitement for finally attending my dream university overshadowed my embarrassment of not knowing my surroundings yet — it didn’t matter, I was home!

If you’re reading this, you’re most likely at your first New Student Conference, ready to begin a long day of breakout sessions, registering for classes and getting another good look at our squirrel-infested campus.You might also be a parent or sibling tagging along, to which I say Howdy and thanks for coming! Hopefully this conference helps answer any questions you have about this school and its quirks, like why the majority of students worship five men in white jumpsuits. My NSC felt like yesterday, but also 5,000 years ago at the same time — let me tell you why. Remember that part about me being a sophomore transfer student? Well, just like it took me a whole year to get to my dream university, it took me another to get to my dream job: working at The Battalion. My junior year, I finally worked up the courage to fill out an application and hand-deliver it to the newsroom in the basement of the Memorial Student Center. As nervous as I was to take a chance as a writer again after years of taking a break from doing it in high school, it turned out to be the best decision of my college career.

It has been a privilege writing, editing and contributing to The Battalion newspaper and Maroon Life magazine. From serving as the Life & Arts editor last year to Special Sections editor now, I have learned so much about journalism, but mostly how to convince our basement thermostat to cool us down more by shining a light on it 24/7. As I’ll be an A&M graduate by the time this magazine hits the stands, I can’t help but owe much of my success to The Battalion, especially the people.

Thank you to every writer, photographer, designer and copy editor who

played a role in contributing to the 2024 New Students Guide. A special shoutout goes to Hudson Elkjer, Zoe May, Caleb Elizondo, Nikhil Vadi, Amy Leigh Steward, Ana Renfroe, Ryan Lindner, Luke White, Kyle Heise and Chris Swann for helping with the production of this magazine. Leaving The Batt also means leaving one of the best academic mentors I’ve ever had, so thank you Spencer O’Daniel for taking a chance on College Station. I am forever grateful for your guidance and I can’t wait to witness the accomplishments I know Texas A&M Student Media staffers will make in the future.

I am grateful to my family for supporting me throughout my time in college and especially during this last semester. Thank you to my dad, Steve, for paving the way for your daughters to attend the best college ever (Whoop!) and thank you to my mom, Elizabeth, for realizing it’s OK to be a UT graduate and Aggie Mom at the same time — we don’t hold your past against you. A final thanks goes to my best friend and fiancé, Jack, who jumped at the chance to read my very first Battalion article and make an anonymous account to comment on my articles.

College is such a defining point in your life. Leaving lifelong friends, experiences, places and family back home is difficult for anyone, especially an 18-yearold doing it for the first time. Saying goodbye to the only town and life I had ever known as a senior in high school was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time … but mostly terrifying.

My advice? Try to make the most of it. It’s my hope that this guide aids in easing the nerves of your first month on campus. Attend informationals about clubs, hit Downtown Bryan’s First Friday event, go to Howdy Week or MSC Open House with your new roommate. Try to learn about the traditions that are deeply ingrained at Texas A&M and make an effort to attend or be a part of each of them. Enough of the sappy stuff — today is about you, the new student! My parting thought for you is this: don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.You never know what amazing people you’ll meet or experiences that you will get to call yours. Gig ‘em forever!

Special Sections Editor: Anna Deardorff

Maroon Life Design Editor: Hudson Elkjer

Maroon Life Writer: Maddie Townsend

Editor-in-Chief: Zoe May

Life & Arts Editor: Sydnei Miles

Asst. Life & Arts Editor: Amy Leigh Steward

News Editor: Ana Renfroe

Opinion Editor: Ryan Lindner

Photo Chief: Kyle Heise

Asst. Photo Chief: Chris Swann

Sports Editor: Luke White

Managing Editor: Caleb Elizondo

Advertising & Sales: Hayden Arevalo, Hamsini Mahadevan, Austin Yong, Carmen Horrillo Tamayo

Social Media Manager: Sophie Villareal

Graphics/Design Editor: Nikhil Vadi

Graphic Designers: Pranay Dhoopar, Ethan Mattson

Photo by Camille Gonzales @camigracephotography




Coppinger shares plans to improve student experience in coming year

This year’s student body president, Cade Coppinger, is making plans to benefit the students of Texas A&M.

Coppinger, a finance junior, said he’s loved his time at A&M so far. He is a member of the Brotherhood of Christian Aggies and the Texas A&M Foundation’s Maroon Coats, but the first leadership organization Coppinger joined was Fish Aides, which led him to the Student Government Association, or SGA.

“My first exposure to it was Big Event through Fish Aides, and I was a Big Event committee member,” Coppinger said. “Be-

served as the vice president of external relations.”

Coppinger served in that role for about a year and a half, then accepted the chief of staff role halfway through his junior year.

“Now, I’m serving as student body president, so I got to see, through my time in the cabinet, what SGA is,” Coppinger said.

Coppinger said his heart behind running for student body president was his desire to connect different social circles across the university.

“I just wanted that to be representative of what we were going to attempt to do if I were going to step into the role of student body president,” Coppinger said.

Coppinger’s passion for serving international students was another contributing factor to his campaign, and he said he wants to increase resources, response times and communication between international students and International Student and Scholar

“They are coming into a new place and don’t really have any previous connections from high school,” Coppinger said. “I really want to make sure they are connected to the student body in the way that a student coming from the U.S. would.”

“I just feel so much more of a sense of gratitude associated with the fact that I have my friends and people that are willing to rally behind me”
— Cade Coppinger

Coppinger said the first feeling that came when receiving the position of student body president was humility. Putting together a campaign with people he deeply cares about was one of his greatest learning experi-


“I really feel like student body president, although it’s your name that serves on any banner or campaign, is so much more [representative] of the people that surround you,” Coppinger said. “I just feel so much more of a sense of gratitude associated with the fact that I have my friends and people that are willing to rally behind me.”

Coppinger said he plans to break down A&M’s social spheres by having SGA participate in other campus or ganization events. SGA’s new position of executive vice president of student engagement will facilitate these events alongside a team that will work under them. Coppinger plans to host semes terly events and invite presidents from different organizations across campus.

“The hope is to give us a good feedback loop to be able to commu nicate to administration and also unify the student body in a unique way that we haven’t seen before,” Coppinger said.

Coppinger plans to ask adminis tration for a three to five-year plan to attain virtual student IDs. Student affordability is also kept in mind, and Coppinger is interested in donating leftover dining dollars to the 12th Can or to food insecurity scholar ships. Lastly, Coppinger wants students to understand the significance of the university’s traditions and increase the attendance of the events.

“When we’re able to communicate effectively on what these things mean and what they mean to the families and students all across the university, it just makes us not only closer as a student body, but that much more in vested in the traditions that make this place so special,” Coppinger said.

Adriano Espionsa — THE BATTALION


Downtown Bryan offers shops, restaurants, study breaks

Editor’s Note: This article is sponsored content.

For the history buffs, there’s a story to why Bryan and College Station are so closely intertwined. In 1871 when the Texas Legislature approved plans for an Agricultural and Mechanical College, there were a few cities that fought to have this new school on its land. Austin and Waco were among those fighting for the opportunity (this is where you hiss). But Harvey Mitchell (does the name ring a bell?) was determined to secure Brazos County as the site, and we’re grateful he did.

Just a 15-minute drive from campus, Downtown Bryan is home to rich history, tons of unique places to visit and is sure to have something for everyone.

Where to study

I’ve got a story for ya, Ags. Remember that big football stadium you know and love? It’s named after Edwin Kyle, and so is Polite Roasters at The Kyle House. The cozy coffee shop is open seven days a week and is located in the old residence of the namesake.

Harvest Coffee Bar has multiple locations around town, but the one in Downtown Bryan offers a view of Main Street that can’t be beat.

If you prefer someplace off the beaten path, Lake Walk in Bryan is home to POV Coffee House that combines bright lighting, delicious coffee or tea and even plants and art for purchase. Despite being generally less crowded, Lake Walk is only a 10-minute drive from campus.

Where to eat

All that studying is likely to work up an appetite, so be sure to try some of

Bryan’s finest while in the area. Places like 3rd on Main Kitchen and Billy’s Grille & Bar have you covered for all three meals a day, serving dishes like wings, nachos, burgers or chicken fried steak.

For date night, Mr. G’s Pizzeria could be the perfect option for a great atmosphere and even better pizza. Looking for a casual lunch spot? Zeitman’s Grocery Store has deli sandwiches that will have you coming back time and time again.

If none of that suits your fancy, you can never go wrong with a taco and burger spot. The Proudest Monkey has everything from specialty cocktails to “yuppy fries” you won’t want to miss.

Where to shop

Whether you’re looking for something specific or just wanting to window shop, Downtown Bryan has all the bases covered. At Mad Cowboy Vintage & Goods, they tow the line between western wear and street style. Each piece is handpicked and the vintage T-shirt collection is pretty impressive. Complete your look with a custom fit and shaped hat from Catalena Hatters. Hit up all the vintage shops in the area like Corner of Time Antiques & Collectibles Mall, Bird’s Nest Gifts & Antiques and The Attic Antiques. If you’re looking for an outfit for Harry’s or to grow your hat collection, 6 Whiskey at Lake Walk has got your back for western apparel.

Two places that offer unique pieces while giving back to the community can also be found in the area. The Bee Community is a storefront that allows local artisans to create and sell anything from candles and coffee mugs to T-shirts and jewelry. Beyond this, The Bee Community’s mission is to give those with disabilities the opportunity to work and create these items. Another shop that gives back is Stage Left Thrift Boutique, which allows customers to shop for one-of-a-kind items. The best part? All of the proceeds go to the Different Day Foundation, which serves as a safe haven for survivors of human trafficking.

Photos courtesy of Destination Bryan

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Getting to know campus culture, community post move-in

Your parents walk out of your freshly decorated dorm room and you’re probably thinking, “What now?” This question remains a canon event for every college student, and luckily, we have an answer for you.

The first thing every new Aggie should have on their bucket list is Howdy Week, a welcoming event for new students to get a feel for different activities and organizations they can join. With ice cream parties, free A&M merch and competitive games at recreation centers, it makes for the perfect way to start off your Aggie experience.

Whether you’ve known your roommate since kindergarten or you don’t even know their last name, head over to Howdy Week with them ASAP. Corie Ritter, Class of 2018, works in New Student & Family Programs, which organizes the event. Ritter said the goal of Howdy Week is to help students connect with the Aggie community and find their place in

College Station.

“Howdy Week is Texas A&M’s official welcome to campus in the fall,” Ritter said. “It’s for new and returning students to attend. There’s a variety of events, both featured and general events, that students are welcome to attend. All Howdy Week events are free.”

Ritter said Howdy Week is specifically designed to allow students enough time to move in during the morning and join in on the festivities later in the day.

“This year’s Howdy Week will be Thursday, Aug. 15 through Tuesday, Aug. 20,” Ritter said. “On that Thursday, events will start at noon. Events can run all day long. Normally, they run between eight o’clock in the morning into the evening. We’ve had events go ‘til midnight.”

Navigating a campus as large as A&M’s for the first time can be overwhelming. Ritter said that’s why events are centered around the main campus.

“Central campus is going to be where a majority of our larger events are going to happen due to space and availability,” Ritter said. “But we have events happening [at] university libraries that will more than likely happen in Evans. [Rec-APalooza] happens in the Rec Center over on West Campus. Ice Cream Carnival,

which is a staple event or featured event, will happen on Kyle Field Plaza.”

Cole Murphy, Class of 2023, works with Ritter and said Howdy Week allows students to see the different ways to get involved while exploring campus before classes start. Freshmen are encouraged to meet up with friends made during New Student Conferences and Fish Camp or to make new friends.

“Howdy Week is Texas A&M’s official welcome to campus in the fall... It’s for new and returning students to attend. There’s a variety of events, both featured and general events that students are welcome to attend. All Howdy Week events are free”

— Corie Ritter

“I remember my freshman year, I lived on the southside [of] campus and we just [said] in our dorm group chat, ‘Hey, I’m going to this event,’ and we would meet up and go,” Murphy said. “Don’t be afraid to just ask your roommate, ask someone you see, like, ‘Hey, do you want to go to this event?’ Just because, more than likely, they’ll say yes. There’s so many events, especially ones put on by the orgs. It’s an opportunity for you to meet your fellow students and find something you’re interested in.”

While attending as many events as possible can be exciting, Ritter said it’s important to stay safe.

“It is very hot in Texas in August,” Ritter said. “We’ve had issues with students not hydrating, getting overheated, things like that. We want to make sure that [you’re] hydrating, taking care of yourself, cooling off and being overall safe while you’re navigating Howdy Week.”

Starting a new chapter of life can be scary, but Ritter said they encourage students to be brave and make new connections.

“I’m an introvert myself, and it’s really hard to go to places by yourself to those

big events where it is chaotic,” Ritter said. “Put yourself out there. Step outside of your comfort zone.You’re going to meet a lot of people during your New Student Conference. If you go to Fish Camp, there’s a lot of opportunities to make connections before Howdy Week. When you move in, if you have roommates, a lot of roommates will come together.”

It can be easy to get caught up and overwhelmed during Howdy Week, but making sure to have fun is the priority, Ritter said. Schedules are published explaining where events will be held to get the full experience.

“There’s no one way to do Howdy Week,” Murphy said. “There’s so many different events. I would say it’s impossible to do every single event of Howdy Week. Pick the things you’re interested in. Go on the website once it goes live. There’s a ton of different ways to sort and filter to see the different types of events, the different orgs and see what works best for you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people and the organizations if you aren’t able to attend something. Still reach out to them; try and connect with them.”

Robert O’Brien — THE BATTALION


What to expect on Saturday gamedays at Kyle Field

One of the greatest traditions in Aggieland is supporting our Aggie football team. Going to games in Kyle Field, yelling and supporting your fellow Aggies are some of the best feelings as a student. However, preparing for a home football game is a little different than many transfers or incoming freshmen would expect. Here are some pointers on how to prepare for a game at Kyle Field.

To get into any Aggie football game, you need a ticket. The way to do this is by going through ticket pull with your sports pass, which can be purchased at the beginning of the year. Every class — freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors — has a day in the week leading up to the football game where they can pull tickets in front of Kyle Field for that

week’s game. The ticket booth opens at 8 a.m., but it’s recommended to get to ticket pull around 6 a.m. for a good spot in line.

The nice thing about ticket pull is that you don’t have to go every time. If you gather a group of friends who want to attend the game, each of you can take turns going to ticket pull for each other. This is a great strategy so that not everybody has to get up early for every ticket pull. Upperclassmen understandably get their tickets first, and lowerclassmen usually pull towards the end of the week and get the nosebleed seats, but regardless, this is something great to experience before football games.

The Friday night before a home football game, there is an awesome tradition called Midnight Yell — and yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Everybody gathers at Kyle Field at midnight to recite A&M’s yells. The Yell Leaders carry out the yells and give a little Aggie history about the next day’s opponent. If you brought a special someone to Midnight Yell, when the clock strikes midnight, all

the lights go out and you can give them a midnight kiss.You really feel the Aggie spirit as current and former students gather in the stands to practice chants that keep players motivated the next day. After Midnight Yell, we focus our attention on Beating The Hell Outta our opponent.

On the day of the football game, get hyped, it’s gameday!

You should dress in Aggie gear. Wear all the maroon and white in your closet, but make sure to check the weather before heading over to Kyle Field. A hat and sunglasses are always helpful. Kyle Field allows you to bring in a closed plastic water bottle, so I highly suggest this for saving money and not getting too thirsty during those hot September games — especially considering the student section stands up the entire time. Bring your white Aggie towel to wave during the game and show support. Just be sure to store your belongings in something see-through, since Kyle Field has a clear bag only policy.

For transportation there and back,

there will be buses operating on game days.You can ride a bus, walk to Kyle Field, ride your bike or, if you have a parking permit for a garage, you can park there. Walking is the best idea for those on campus or across from it, as long as you give yourself enough time to get to Kyle Field.

Finally, I would advise getting to Kyle Field around 90 minutes before the game kicks off. This gives you time to stand in line, get into the stadium, find your seat, purchase any food or drinks and use the restroom so you are ready to go once the game starts.

During the game, scream your heart out, as your fellow Aggies will do the same. The games are very fun and exciting! Winning or losing, don’t leave the game early! Do not be a two percenter; make sure to stay for the full game to show your Aggies support.

Once the game concludes, you can go enjoy the rest of your Saturday while you’re in the Aggie spirit!



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Your introduction to the Redass language of College Station

While outsiders often call Texas A&M Aggies cultish, with dozens of unique, historic traditions, many will never understand them until they step foot in Aggieland. Here’s an introduction to some of A&M’s most famous events and icons.


“Howdy” is how it starts! It’s A&M’s most popular greeting, and it’s used by the most Redass Aggies, or students who unapologetically spread the Aggie spirit and culture. For current students, it’s almost a requirement to use. It can be found on everything from T-shirts and emails to professors. New students are often shy to say it, but try it — it’s fun!


A&M has a long, rich history as a military school, and the strength of the Corps of Cadets stands as a testament. A&M’s Corps was established in 1876 and is known as the “Keepers of the Spirit” and “Guardians of Tradition.” In short, it’s a highly disciplined student-led organization for Aggies who want a taste of military discipline or a leg up by commissioning into a uniformed service through ROTC.

The Corps is known on campus for its many iconic groups: the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band, Ross Volunteers, Parsons Mounted Cavalry, Fish Drill Team and more. Historically, Yell Leaders (or A&M’s five spirit leaders and hype men) are male cadets.

to non-regs (students not in the Corps), she’s simply known as The Queen.

The Queen has her own cult following. Students will excitedly form long queues at events where Rev makes a guest appearance for a selfie. Outside of her planned daily itinerary, Aggies go wild when they spot her on campus — also known as Rev Spotting

Rev is cared for by the sophomores of Corps’ Mascot Company E-2, and every spring, a mascot corporal is selected to be her handler for the next year. Her handler escorts her to all of her engagements, and likewise, Rev attends class too. Students pray for the day Rev and her handler walk into their lecture. Tradition has it that if she barks, class is dismissed.

For some Aggies, the reward for reaching 90 hours far outweighs the one you get for reaching 120 at graduation. The Aggie Ring, besides saying “Howdy” everywhere, is often the easiest way to identify someone as an Aggie. Even the act of ordering your ring is cause for celebration, with countless “I ordered my Aggie Ring!” photos plastering social media throughout the year.

the end, you’re supposed to kiss. If you come solo, don’t worry. If you shine a light around, you can try to find someone who’s in the same boat as you, and you may not feel so left out after all. (Although this may have a varying success rate, so don’t get your hopes up).

Officially, Miss Reveille is the mascot and First Lady of Aggieland since she’s the highest-ranking member of the Corps of Cadets. However,

On Jan. 2, 1922, Texas A&M football played Centre College in the Dixie Classic, and the Aggies found themselves in a bind due to injuries. E. King Gill, a former football player turned basketball player, was in the press box to help reporters identify players.

Knowing the state of his team and that Gill was in the press box, coach Dana X. Bible got Gill to come down, suit up and stand ready if he was to be called upon. Gill never actually played, but A&M managed to pull the 22-14 upset, and the history of the 12th Man was born.

Now, the 12th Man’s presence shows their loyalty and commitment that Aggies have for one another. Every student stands the entire time at home football games, symbolizing their readiness to step up if called upon like Gill did over a century ago.


“Whoop” is the universal exclamation of Aggie approval, but it’s exclusively an upperclassman privilege, reserved for juniors and seniors. No, freshmen — sorry — it doesn’t count if you’re a “junior by credits.” Aggies gain the privilege in the spring of their sophomore year at Pull Out Day, a celebration around students ringing in their first time to Whoop.

Ring Day serves as not only another perfectly reasonable excuse to skip class, but it is the chance to have family and friends see your accomplishments manifest firsthand: your right hand, to be exact. Ring Day is a day of celebration, but the party doesn’t stop at the Clayton W. Williams, Jr. Alumni Center.

The Ring Dunk is almost as famous as the ring itself. To truly mark you have your ring, Aggies drop their ring in a pitcher of beer (or Twisted Teas, apple juice or whatever liquid your heart desires) and chug it as fast as they can, retrieving the ring from the bottom at the end. New ring-recipients typically dunk in groups with their friends, donning ponchos to prevent unwanted spills — or worse. As gut-wrenching as this tradition can be, it is a perfect opportunity not just to have loved ones celebrate you, but to come together and embrace what makes Aggieland so special: the people and the Aggie Network.

Silver Taps is a sacred tradition that honors current students who pass away while at A&M. On the first Tuesday of each month in fall and spring, a Silver Taps ceremony is held in Academic Plaza at 10:30 p.m. Over thousands of Aggies attend, entering and exiting silently to show support for the families of the fallen.

Every Friday night before home football games, Aggies gather inside Kyle Field for one of the most unique pregame traditions. It’s a practice session, comedy corner and large-scale display of PDA (But it doesn’t count, because it’s in the dark).

Midnight Yell is the perfect place for new students to learn the yell signals, what they sound like and what they mean. There’s a lot, so being expected to memorize them during a game can be stressful, and Midnight Yell alleviates that anxiety.

Yell Leaders take time between yell practices to tell funny stories about the team we’re playing later that day, usually revolving around Ol’ Rock, the Good Ag and his hijinks.

I hope you come with a date because, at

Since 1907, Aggies would build a Bonfire with stacked logs to burn before they played the University of Texas in football — symbolizing their “burning desire” to beat them. While the location of Bonfire (and its size) has changed through history, the last time it was held on campus was on Nov. 18, 1999. At 2:42 a.m., the Bonfire collapsed and tragically killed 12 Aggies, injuring 27 others. Five years later, a memorial was erected in the same spot it fell, forever honoring the lives lost. Now, every year on Nov. 18 at 2:42 a.m., Aggies meet at the Bonfire Memorial to carry on the memory with the Bonfire Remembrance ceremony.


Becoming an Aggie is a lifelong commitment, and one day, future Aggies will call your name. Held annually on April 21 at Reed Arena annually, Muster is A&M’s most revered tradition, honoring the lost lives of Aggies since the last ceremony. The campus Muster ceremony is the largest in the world, but Aggies gather all across the world to hold hundreds of ceremonies. Aggies read from the Roll Call for the Absent, with attendees responding with “Here” after a candle is lit for each name.



Finding your fit in one of 1,400 student organizations

With a dragon and Pikachu roaming the halls, speedboats and motorcycles parked in the plaza and students playing quidditch, MSC Open House truly has every organization one could imagine. Held on Sunday, Aug. 25, MSC Open House is a student organization fair where new Aggies can talk to organizations and find opportunities to get involved on campus.

Spanning the first and second levels of the Memorial Student Center, or MSC, Kyle Field Plaza, Rudder Plaza, Rudder Exhibit Hall and the sidewalks of Simpson Drill Field, the MSC Open House is an expansive event with over 500 student organizations in attendance.

Jamie Arrexi works at the Division of Student Affairs as manager of marketing and communications; she handles the planning, logistics and registration for MSC Open House.

“Texas A&M has almost 1,400 student organizations … so it really is a chance to see what kind of involvement opportunities are available for students and they can join more than one — they don’t have to just join one,” Arrexi said. “It allows them to see the range that we have here.”

Open House is divided into 12 organization categories including health, recreation and sports, professional and career, fraternity and sorority life, arts and entertainment, multicultural and international and service organizations.

“The Cosplay Club always brings a giant Pikachu — someone dressed as a giant Pikachu,” Arrexi said. “This past spring they had a dragon — someone in a dragon costume. We have a quidditch club who will show you how to play quidditch. We have our offroad vehicle clubs that will be in the fall only … on Kyle Field Plaza with their vehicles or potentially their speedboat as we’ve had

in the past [and] Motorcycle Club who will bring motorcycles.”

Organizations such as Aggie Wranglers, Fade to Black, the Aggie Westies and the

do it and see the stunts that they do, and if they want to be a part of it, they can go find their table and talk to them.”

Chair of MSC Hospitality Abby

Open House, which Arrexi said provides organizations with an opportunity to showcase and promote themselves.

“It provides visual learning,” Arrexi said. “It provides an opportunity for people to see what that organization does, so if they’re interested in becoming an Aggie Wrangler, they can see how they

Hospitality provides about 30 volunteers for the event to give information to guests, mitigate any issues that arise and guide participants through the maze of organizations.

“As a first-year student or someone who just wants to get involved, going to this event really allows them to speak to the people who are passionate about

the organization and for those students who are interested in joining, for them to find a place and a family at the club or organization,” Alquiza said. Every freshman and transfer student should attend, Alquiza said, because it is the only day each semester where students can see every organization that

“It’s just the most ideal opportunity for you to know exactly what Texas A&M offers,” Alquiza said. “Every single club that people feel passionate for, they’re going to kind of sell you on that, and I think that even talking to someone that you may not even want to join their they could convince you because they feel that passionate about it. I think it’s an easy and simple way to find what your next home will be for the next four years.” With around 25,000 attendees the past two falls, Arrexi said visitors should be prepared for crowds. The spring Open House is typically smaller, with only about 3,000 to 5,000 visitors in attendance, and is held only on the first and second floors of

“My advice is to just take a deep breath,” Arrexi said. ”Know that this may be an overwhelming experience, but it is the first step to finding a community.”

Psychology junior Fryda Arguijo first went to MSC Open House during her freshman year in 2021 after she and her roommates saw the event advertised on the Howdy App. Arguijo said she was first introduced to the Mexican Student Association at the MSC Open House.

“I think that if you go as a freshman, it opens a lot of opportunities because if I hadn’t gone, I wouldn’t have found my first org to join,” Arguijo said. “I made a lot more friends through those [organizations] that I joined because I saw them in Open House.”

MSC Open House is open to all A&M students and will be held on Aug. 25 from 1-5 p.m.



JUNE 8 Brazil vs Mexico Soccer Match

JUNE 15 George Strait Concert

AUG. 31 Texas A&M vs. Notre Dame

SEPT. 7 Texas A&M vs. McNeese

SEPT. 21 Texas A&M vs. Bowling Green

OCT. 5 Texas A&M vs. Missouri

OCT. 26 Texas A&M vs. LSU

NOV. 16 Texas A&M vs. New Mexico State

NOV. 30 Texas A&M vs. Texas

Take advantage of our FREE, air-conditioned shuttles! Shuttles run 3 hours before, during, and 1 hour after events. They’ll run to/from the Roy Kelly Parking Garage and Texas A&M’s Memorial Student Center. Be sure to give yourself enough time to also enjoy local cuisine, shopping, art, and entertainment that Historic Downtown Bryan has to offer. bryan, Texas MusicFriendly Community ®



Freshman and sophomore-centered leadership opportunities

Music plays outside the Memorial Student Center, or MSC, while students gather in groups next to colorful banners, recruiting members to different organizations Texas A&M offers to allow new (and old) students to get involved in something different. Every fall, students are invited to apply for Freshman Leadership Organizations and Sophomore Leadership Organizations, or FLOs and SLOs, respectively. These organizations — 25 FLOs and five SLOs — strive to teach students important life skills such as leadership, service and courage while making lifelong friends.

Experiencing how special FLOs can be for a college student’s educational experience is something Peyton Bornes, Freshman Leadership Advisory Council executive director and business management junior, witnessed through her role.

“[FLOs are] a year-long program where they all have different kinds of things, but most are usually for service or social or just getting the freshmen integrated into Texas A&M,” Borens said. “Each FLO is very unique in what it does.”

Borens applied for Freshman Aggies Spreading Traditions, or FAST, after seeing the organization advertised on campus, as campaigns typically begin in September.

“Recruitment is basically [when] every FLO will banner around cam-

pus for about two weeks,” Borens said. “They banner at the MSC and Sbisa, and the counselors are out there in tank tops.”

FLOs and SLOs can vary from strictly service to social or be a mix of the two, similar to Greek Life at A&M. While Greek Life is a great way to integrate into college life, Borens said both offer different opportunities.

“You could definitely do both,” Borens said. “I am in Delta Gamma and I joined that freshman year and also joined [FAST] freshman year. So it’s definitely doable and honestly it’s a great balance … most FLOs are coed. It’s a nice balance of getting those really good friendships of both like boy, girl.”

FLOs and SLOs prioritize helping out the community, with each contributing in various ways. Borens said their philanthropy events teach students not only the importance of helping others but also to be assertive when needing to get jobs done.

“We go to Lockhart, Texas and clean up the community and help out there,” Borens said. “FAST has been really awesome, and I feel very blessed to have the opportunities I’ve had to lead in the organization.”

When the members are not servicing the community, Borens said they are finding different ways to get to know one another and other organizations.

“A lot of FLOs really put an emphasis on making their own little service retreats,” Borens said. “They also like to put on other stuff that’s more fun within the FLOs. I know there’s FLO Bowl, MSC FISH puts that on.’”

Borens said these organizations allow people of all different back-

grounds to come together and help out the community in unique ways while having fun and getting to know one another.

“I feel like FLOs have such a good opportunity to have such different people with diverse personalities, and I think you really learn how to get along with people that are different from yourself,” Borens said.

Due to the lasting impacts FLOs have on students, several stay involved with their organizations as staff after their membership ends the following year.

“It’s just a matter of finding the FLO that you love and fits well with you and then figuring out how to get your way up,” Borens said.

Allied health senior Taylor Trinh was unable to join a FLO her freshman year due to COVID-19. When students were welcomed back on campus, Trinh joined Sophomores Leading and Motivating, or SLAM to finally get involved.

“We get a lot of transfer students and we get a lot of people that joined FLOs,” Trinh said. “I think SLOs are a really cool opportunity for people to get involved if they weren’t able to their freshman year.”

Similar to FLOs, SLOs have a passion for helping people, Trinh said.

“Our philanthropy is Voices for Children,” Trinh said. “We have fundraising events and other services to philanthropy events supporting them.”

Trinh said she was grateful for the people she met from her organization after not being able to feel involved her freshman year.

“I probably never would’ve met them if it weren’t for [SLAM] just because we’re all so different,” Trinh said.

“It really introduces you to so many new experiences and personalities and you learn so much about yourself and other people.”

Because of the impact SLAM had on Trinh, she — like several other students — continued to be involved and become a leader for other members. Trinh currently serves as SLAM’s president.

“You get so close with the people on staff as well, and being able to create this environment for the new sophomores was just amazing,” Trinh said. “There’s always room for improvement. And that’s when I decided to go for exec because I just wanted to be able to play a bigger part and really see the impact I was able to make on other people’s lives through that.”

The social aspect of FLOs and SLOs is also important in the organization’s goals, Trinh said.

“Every week we have socials and we have a spring retreat,” Trinh said. “We also have a big fundraising event, which is our bake sale. And a lot of sophomores really get to know each other and know other people outside of their committee.”

A&M provides students with the ability to meet other students who are undergoing similar situations. Any of the on-campus organizations can provide students with life-lasting friendships to those who are brave enough to try, Trinh said.

“[Don’t] let your fear of rejection or the fear of the unknown keep you from applying — just go for it,” Trinh said. “You never know what can happen and the impact that these orgs make on you is so crazy to think about.”

AGGIES LIVE ON @tamureslife @tamuresidencelife DIVISION OF STUDENT AFFAIRS Residence Life SUCCESS STARTS HERE experience aggieland more fully when you live on campus! enjoy the convenience, community, academic support, safety, and sustainability of living on campus.



to make your living situation a success, on or off campus

So, you’re about to get your first college roommate. How about that?

First off, congratulations on getting into Texas A&M! I’m very happy to have you here and very excited to share this incredible school with you. We may be a bit of a cult, but only in the fun way, I promise!

With that out of the way, let’s talk about this whole roommate thing. Having a roommate — especially one you didn’t know prior to moving in together — is a formative experience. It’s the kind of thing that sets the stage for all those other pesky life experiences you’re going to have throughout college and your first job.

This is especially true if you don’t get along with your roomie. There are going to be lots of unsavory people in your future. So, like chicken pox, it’s best to get it out of the way early so you have that experience to draw on later.

I won’t lie to you — moving in with a roommate is a big change, whether you know them beforehand or not. There will be times you laugh together. There will be times you get on each other’s nerves. There will be times you want to kill them. It’s all part of the process.

I feel like everyone comes into the college roommate experience with Hollywood expectations.You and your roommate are supposed to be best friends and conquer freshman year together, right? Let me tell you, that’s not always how it works out. I walked into my dorm room

for the first time with an open mind. I had never met my roommate before. There was no immediate click, no girlypop montage of bonding and friendship. Almost the opposite, if I’m being honest. Don’t get me wrong, I survived and all, but we certainly weren’t friends. I haven’t spoken to her since, and I plan to keep it that way. In fact, I saw her at Target the other day and did the thing where you pretend to be engrossed in your phone so you don’t have to talk to acquaintances. It happens.

All that to say: Don’t walk into this expecting a movie-perfect college roommate experience. And that’s OK. It doesn’t mean that it can’t still be a good experi ence.

However, if you want this to work out, you both have to put in some elbow grease.

Rule No. 1 is communication. In many cases, you guys aren’t just sharing a living room — you’re sharing a bedroom, bathroom and all the little nooks and crannies in between. That makes coordination a necessity. If you’re having a group of friends over, make sure your roomie doesn’t have something planned for the same time frame. If you’re having a late-night movie marathon with your study group, make sure your roommate doesn’t have to get up super early. Being considerate of each other and coordinating what’s happening in the dorm and when is half the battle.

In fact, being considerate is probably the biggest factor in making this a good experience for both of you. Simply being respectful of each other’s time and space is huge.

My roommate, safe to say, did not follow that rule. One time freshman year, she invited three of her sorority friends over at 11 p.m. so they could shriek and twerk on the wall while I tried to finish annotating “King Lear” for class the next day. That’s not a sentence I ever thought I would write, but here we are.

Then again, having a few bad experiences under your belt is also helpful. If nothing else, it gives you an arsenal of “Family Guy”-style cutaway stories to bust out at the next family gathering.

In short, be considerate and remember that you’re sharing this room with a whole other person. This can be especially hard for only children — not to call you out or anything, but it’s true. It’s hard to be cognizant of other people after a lifetime of living in your own space.

The best thing you guys can do is set some ground rules on day one. Is the food in the fridge to share or just for you? What time do you get up in the morning, and how can you work around one another’s schedules? What’s the policy on bringing friends over?

Moving in with a potential new friend is exciting. It’s part of the college experi-

ence, and it’s always fun to see what kind of wack stuff their parents think should be refrigerated.

Just remember it takes two to make this thing happen. So keep an open mind, yeah?


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Avoiding a ramen-only diet while living on campus

After moving in and getting settled in your a dorm and getting past that awkward first conversation with your roommate, it’s time to figure out the next big thing: food. Taking care of three meals a day can seem daunting. You may be asking, ‘What should I buy? What should I cook? How do I get food on campus?’ Don’t worry — decades worth of Aggies had the same questions. Here’s a few answers you might find helpful.

our campus recommendations

• Quadbucks: Starbucks in the Quad! A fantastic spot to meet up with friends, get some work done between classes or listen to whatever music the staff is playing that day. With four floors of study space to choose from, you’re likely to find a spot and get comfy. Don’t be alarmed if you see the majority of the corps there — that’s basically their side of campus.

Recommended order: Iced chai

• Spin ‘n Stone: The pizzas are the perfect size, they’re decently quick and they’re usually not that busy, especially compared to other locations during the lunch rush. Great place to grab a quick slice!

Recommended order: Personal size cheese pizza with Italian sausage, spinach, mushrooms and pepperoni

• Houston Street Subs: A build-your-own sandwich staple on campus, with multiple locations and thousands of possible sandwich combinations. Because of the high level of customizing that goes into it, it’s rare to leave here without something delicious.

Recommended order: Whole wheat with provolone, pepper jack, creamy jalapeno dressing and every vegetable except tomatoes

university meal plans

Meal Swipes: Our entrance ticket to one of the three main dining halls on campus. Once inside, you have unlimited access to the buffet style food options.

What it looks like: Each of the three main dining halls — Sbisa, Duncan and The Commons — has its own menu that changes dayto-day and meal-to-meal. They function like a cafeteria with multiple cuisine options. Students get in one of the lines depending on what food they want, grab a tray and tell cafeteria staff behind the counter which items they’d like; After they’re finished eating, they place all their dishes

on a designated rack. Beware: dining halls don’t let anybody back in after leaving! You’ll have to use another meal swipe for that.

Dining Dollars: A balance kept on your student ID that can be used like money in on-campus stores and restaurants (ex: Starbucks and Aggie Express). Dining dollars can also buy entry into a dining hall.

What it looks like: At checkout, swipe your ID in the card reader and select “pay with dining dollars” on the screen. Some places require you to hand your ID to the cashier to pay. Retail Swipes: A meal swipe used at a retail

location, similar to dining dollars. One retail swipe buys up to $8 worth of menu items. What it looks like: Retail swipes are available at Chick-fil-A, Houston St. Subs, Pizza @ Underground, Copperhead Jack’s, Einstein Bros. Bagels, 1876 Burgers, Cabo Grill, Spin ‘n Stone Pizza, Rev’s American Grill, Abu Omar Halal, Panda Express, Azimuth Cafe, The Grill at the Pavilion, Creekside Market, Shake Smart and Vet Med Cafe.

Sounds like a lot to keep track of? Don’t worry! A&M’s Dine On Campus website shows exactly which places accept retail swipes.




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Pi Kappa Alpha wild west themed build on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at Chilifest in Snook, Texas. (Adriano Espinosa/The Battalion) Tri Delta accepts new members for Bid Day on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023. (Photo courtesy of TAMU Panhellenic) Beta Theta Pi’s Born In The USA themed build on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at Chilifest in Snook, Texas. (Adriano Espinosa/The Battalion) Chi Omega accepts new members for Bid Day on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023. (Photo courtesy of TAMU Panhellenic)


Greek councils offer community, lifelong connections among Aggies

From toga parties to total chaos, everything you know about fraternities and sororities is wrong. Contrary to popular belief, Greek Life is not as it seems in “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” and thank goodness for that.

Between the four councils at Texas A&M, there are over 50 chapters that focus on creating community on campus. According to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, more than 10% of undergraduate Aggies are involved in a Greek organization.

One major goal of the College Panhellenic Council, or CPC, is to redefine the public’s opinion of sororities. There are a total of 14 sororities in CPC, most of which have dedicated houses on Sorority Row. Economics senior Olivia McKerrow, CPC’s 2024 president, went through the formal recruitment process her freshman year and ended up finding her home at Chi Omega.

“[Joining CPC is] not something I would ever regret because it’s a big community where you can find ties to people even outside of your sorority,” McKerrow said. “You shouldn’t define yourself by the

chapter that you’re in because there’s a whole panhellenic community that’s there to support you.”

The Interfraternity Council, or IFC, recruitment process consists of three days’ worth of meeting the men from various chapters and learning about their values.

IFC President and accounting senior Rodrigo Saenz Tinoco said growing up in Mexico, he didn’t know much about fraternities, but his older brother went to A&M, joined Pi Kappa Alpha and loved it.

“You’re coming into college, and it’s a completely new environment,” Saenz Tinoco said. “It gets you out of your comfort zone. One of the benefits is the network. Every time I go to the library or to eat lunch, I know someone, whether it’s through my chapter or others.”

Beyond typical sororities and fraternities, there is also a National Pan-Hellenic Council, or NPHC, that oversees historically Black Greek organizations on campus. In 1999, nine groups formed the Multicultural Greek Council, or MGC, and recruitment looks different for each chapter within this council. Knowing she wanted to join a sorority, MGC President and meteorology senior Ciara Santiago said she was intimidated by the lack of diversity and took it into her own hands to find a chapter she aligned with.

“I wanted to meet more Latinas because I didn’t really have friends that had that in common with me,” Santiago

said. “As soon as I did the research and met some of the girls, I knew I felt like I belonged with them.”

McKerrow said her biggest piece of advice for girls considering Greek Life is to go for it and be true to themselves. During the recruitment process, she said there will be one place you feel the most at home, and girls will end up where they’re meant to be.

“There’s always girls that will be there to support you that aren’t in your chapter,” McKerrow said. “It’s a way to make the campus just a tiny bit smaller and make that network smaller. I’ll go onto campus and no matter what, there’s always some familiar faces.”

After following in his older brother’s footsteps, Saenz Tinoco’s younger brother also joined Pi Kappa Alpha, and he said it was like a home away from home being in the fraternity with both of his biological brothers at once. Saenz Tinoco was elected by all of the chapter presidents and said his biggest goal is to increase campus involvement within IFC.

“In the classroom, you don’t learn a lot of the soft skills that are very useful later on in the workforce,” Saenz Tinoco said. “You can’t really learn those in a classroom because it’s not like it’s from a textbook. So [you can learn] communication skills and social skills — those go hand in hand.”

Each year, the councils host events to give back to the Greek community, such

as Aggie Week of Treats where ice cream and hats are handed out on campus. MGC also holds an annual showcase for cultural performances during their specified MGC Week. Santiago said her advice for anyone considering a multicultural chapter is to look for them on Instagram and attend the MGC x NPHC Meet the Greeks event held each semester.

“We are here and we want you to join, but we’re not as well known,” Santiago said. “When someone comes to recruitment and says they like my org but also someone else’s, it’s not like I’m saying, ‘Oh you have to join mine.’ No, it’s not like that. I want you to find where you feel right.”

Each council emphasizes scholarship and service, and, according to the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, the AllGreek GPA is higher than the average undergraduate GPA. Beyond giving back to the community and encouraging academics, these chapters also provide opportunities for leadership. McKerrow said she never would have been in a leadership position at A&M without being in Greek Life.

“I think I’ve learned to be more comfortable in my own skin,” McKerrow said. “I’ve grown so much, and I attribute it all to Greek Life. They help you grow not only socially and personally, but professionally too. They give you the resources to be your best self.”

Kappa Alpha Theta Girls Weekend on Sunday, April 14, 2024. Photo Courtesy of Flame Dong Photography
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Samson Baguma ’24 credits scholarship support with enabling him to attend Texas A&M University and become the first person in his family to graduate from college. After moving to the United States from Kenya, he overcame language barriers and other challenges to excel in high school and earn admission to Aggieland, eventually finding a home in the Corps of Cadets and Ross Volunteers.

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