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The Battalion

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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Elephant Walk: Reflecting on 101 years of tradition

Photo by Samuel Falade

Students bury a time capsule during the celebration of a 100 year tradition ‘Elephant Walk’ on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022. 

The time has come for seniors to partake in one last special moment together. On Wednesday, Nov. 15, the Class of 2024 will reminisce on its Aggie journey with Elephant Walk, a tradition that has lasted over a century at Texas A&M.

The class of 1926 conceived the idea, marching in a funeral manner to break the curse of two losses to start the football season their freshman year. Three years later, the now-seniors decided to walk around campus in a line with a hand on the leading person’s shoulder — “like elephants, about to die” — to commemorate their time at A&M and reflect on the memories they have made.

Biological & agricultural engineering senior Lucas Trosper serves as the head director of Elephant Walk as a part of Class Councils, a representative body that strives to enhance class traditions. Trosper said Elephant Walk is a significant part of a senior’s transition from current to former student.

“It’s all about bringing together the seniors and giving us an opportunity to reflect on what A&M has been for us, the role it plays in our lives moving forward and the ways we’ve grown here,” Trosper said. “A big piece of it is it’s the last time we’ll be a part of the 12th Man for the football team. The ‘dying’ part is that we’re no longer going to be members of the 12th Man after the last home football game.”

Senior Class President Ben Fisher said he encourages the Class of 2024 to take part in the tradition and celebrate how far they’ve come in life and their Aggie story.

“The tradition exists to invite all of us seniors to reflect on and remember the incredible experiences, relationships and character that we have grown in over the past several years,” Fisher said. “We want to celebrate those [milestones] and begin to look to the future as we strive to make an impact in whatever comes next for all of us.”

A&M has evolved drastically in the last 100 years, and this evolution has spilled over into the class tradition as well, Trosper said, noting that A&M’s student body is no longer composed solely of the Corps of Cadets.

“I think what’s cool about Elephant Walk is, over the years, it’s developed and evolved,” Trosper said. “There’s a lot of different stops [now] because it caters to so many different people, so many different experiences. I don’t think everyone’s Elephant Walk should be the same. We’ve organized an Elephant Walk that, should I believe, caters to almost every single Aggie in terms of what’s being spoken on and the significance of the places we’re visiting.”

This year’s Elephant Walk will start at 6:24 p.m. outside Kyle Plaza/Tunnel. Sam Mathews, the 12th Man for the A&M football team, will speak on the spirit of the 12th Man. From there, seniors will walk to Simpson Drill Field and hear from the executive director of the Leadership Initiative at A&M, Fred McClure, on integrity, an

A&M core value. Before heading to the third stop, Academic Plaza, Trosper said he will hand out something for students to carry with them the rest of Elephant Walk.

“In between Simpson and Academic Plaza, we’ll be handing out paper and pen,” Trosper said. “I’m going to encourage students to write down the names of the students who they may have known or had a connection to, to carry with them through the rest of the walk. We can honor their memory by carrying them with us … even if it’s just for that night at Elephant Walk. I think it’ll mean a lot to the folks, especially for those who have a personal connection or know some of those students who are no longer with us.”

At Academic Plaza, management information systems senior Cole Ragsdale will serve as the third stop’s speaker, touching on the members of the Class of 2024 who aren’t able to walk with the senior class. Remembering current students who passed away during their time at A&M is one of the most significant aspects of the night, Trosper said.

“A big piece of what makes A&M special is that we remember and honor the students and Aggies who have passed,” Trosper said.

The walk will then carry over to the Quad. Corps Commander Caitlynn Walsh will speak on Respect and Selfless Service. After the fourth stop, the event will conclude with a block party in Aggie Park, featuring free food, games, drinks and even a Yell Practice.

As the seniors near graduation, it’s important to note that these Aggies’ stories do not end when they become former students, nor when their name is called at Muster. The Class of 2024 has served our institution selflessly as any Aggie should; now, it’s time for members of the class to selfishly take this moment for themselves and reflect on what positive influence they have made on A&M, Trosper said.

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