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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Class of 2023 celebrates 100 years of Elephant Walk

Seniors+make+their+way+into+Kyle+Field.
Photo by Meredith Seaver

Seniors make their way into Kyle Field.

December 2022 and May 2023 graduates prepare to walk Texas A&M’s campus one last time together. 

On Nov. 16 at 7 p.m., Class Councils hosted A&M’s 100th Elephant Walk. A long-standing, tradition on-campus, Elephant Walk started in 1923 during the Class of 1926’s freshmen year after the football team lost its first two games, according to Aggie Traditions. In order to break the team’s “losing curse,” the freshmen Corps of Cadets band members paraded around Kyle Field, led by a piccolo player and a brass horn to a funeral march. 

Three years later as seniors, the Class of 1926 took a last walk around campus together before graduation, walking one behind the other, like elephants. Since then, the event has been held annually before the last scheduled home football game. Graduating seniors join hands as they stroll through campus on a predetermined route, reminiscing on their time at A&M and listening to speakers at various campus locations. 

Chancellor John Sharp said, in an email to The Battalion, that as the Class of 2023 celebrates Elephant Walk’s 100th year, it’s important Aggies continue to foster the beloved tradition.

“Any tradition that is celebrated for 100 years is worth celebrating for another 100 years,” Sharp said. “No one does tradition better than the Aggies.”

Sharp said one should celebrate their life transitions, as seniors do in Elephant Walk.

“It is important for all of us to reflect on significant moments in our lives, I can’t think of any time more transformative than when a group of ‘Fish’ become Aggies,” Sharp said. “We should celebrate that transition … and our seniors joining fellow Former Students in service to their community, state, nation and alma mater.”

University studies senior and Senior Class President Laryssa Villarreal said Elephant Walk is a time for seniors to reflect on what their class has gone through together in the last three and a half years and to look at what they can do together in their last semester on campus.

“We are approaching graduation where some believe us to be irrelevant on campus now,” Villarreal said. “I believe that the Class of 2023 is going to have a great Elephant Walk as I believe we are a very close knit class.”

Planning Elephant Walk has been an extensive process, Villarreal said, dating back to the early summer. Villarreal said the speakers for Elephant Walk are very carefully selected and Class Councils chose each Elephant Walk stop for a particular reason.

“Our directors were selected in June and July so they’ve been working a pretty good amount of time so far,” Villarreal said. “What we’ve been doing is gathering speakers — I really wanted our class to be intentional with who we had speaking and where we were stopping. We built the route based on what [seniors] thought was important to our experience at Texas A&M.”

Villarreal said she believes the Class of 2023 has greatly served Texas A&M during the last three and a half years, which is what will make this year’s Elephant Walk so special. As senior class president, she said she is eager to have a front row spot leading the walk. 

“[The Class of 2023] had probably one of the most unique experiences at any university, but specifically here,” Villarreal said. “Our four years have looked very different than they traditionally would. But at a university like this, the traditions never stopped and the service never stopped.”

As senior class president, Villarreal said she is eager to have a front row seat leading the walk. Villarreal said Class Councils expect this year’s Elephant Walk to have a large number of attendees.

“Our amazing team has been working so hard this year to make sure that this is a successful event,” Villarreal said. “This year is 100 years of this tradition, which not many classes get to say about any event here. This is also the first year where we are inviting graduating graduate students … The Class of 2023 wants to serve and reach as many Aggies as they can.”

Industrial distribution senior Cole Murphy, executive chair of class councils and a Class of 2023 agent, said during Elephant Walk he is most looking forward to spending time with his classmates and has enjoyed seeing the senior class come back together after being separated during the heart of the pandemic.

“Our time at A&M is different from anyone else’s, just because we were freshmen when COVID[-19] hit and so we lost our sophomore year,” Murphy said. “Those years where we were supposed to settle into our time in Aggieland got taken away from us … Now we’re able to come back and reflect on our time here A&M as a class.”

Murphy said it’s jarring that the Class of 2023 is nearing graduation, as it feels like his time at A&M has just started.

“It’s really hitting me now like, ‘Wait, our four years at A&M are almost over. Our time in Aggieland is coming to an end.’ We were freshmen four years ago, but it feels like it was yesterday,” Murphy said. 

Murphy said to the Class of 2023 — show up to the walk and bring your friends. 

“To my class — enjoy it while it lasts,” Murphy said. “Enjoy our remaining semester and make the most of it. Make it be everything we want it to be and let’s leave our mark.”

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