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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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Ring Day in Aggie Park

The first known Aggie Ring etched itself into history in 1889, making the symbolic gold one of Texas A&M’s oldest traditions. In the last two decades, one of A&M’s oldest traditions has commemorated the achievement with one of its newest traditions: Ring Day. For the first time ever, The Association of Former Students will host Ring Day over two days in September at the Clayton J. Williams Alumni Center.

This upcoming weekend, nearly 5,000 Aggies will receive their ring at various A&M campuses, including Galveston, McAllen and Fort Worth. Approximately 4,300 Aggies will receive their ring at A&M’s main campus between 1-5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28 and between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 29. Vice president of The Association of Former Students and A&M former student, Class of 1990, Scot Walker said the number of ring orders necessitated a two-day event.

“This is the first September Ring Day that [will last] for two days,” Walker said. “It’s technically a day and a half. September is the second biggest ring day of the year. April is the biggest ring day. We’ve been doing two days of Ring Day in April since 2015.” 

This year’s Ring Day also marks one year of celebrating the special occasion alongside Aggie Park. Walker said there will be numerous festivities to enjoy throughout the park like last year.

“We’ll have the Ring Day marketplace out in Aggie Park,” Walker said. “Kendra Scott will be there. We will have Texas Aggie artist Benjamin Knox, Class of 1990, and other vendors to make it more of a festival atmosphere [and] give people the opportunity to buy some refreshments and souvenirs related to the day. 

We have an official Ring Day t-shirt. It’s also very safety-oriented. We put a lot of effort into making sure that everybody’s Ring Day is going to have a happy ending.” 

Biology senior Monse Westrup grew up in Monterrey, Mexico and became the first person in her family to attend a university in the U.S. Westrup said her grandfather, a former veterinarian, spoke highly of A&M her whole life, influencing her to complete her education in College Station. Everything that has led up to this moment makes it all mean more, she said.

“No one ever says it’s just a ring,” Westrup said. “It 100% is so much more than that. It’s a reflection of all my achievements and my college journey, whether that be both academics and personal development. I am the first in my family to attend a university in the U.S. Getting to college alone was a big accomplishment. Now, completing 90 hours while working two jobs and being highly involved in school is insane to me. It’s going to be a very sentimental day, for sure. Being an immigrant …  paying my own rent, groceries and using my tax return to pay for my Aggie Ring is a very sentimental thing to me because I knew I wanted it that bad.”

Westrup said she looks forward to sharing her Aggie Ring story one day.

“I’m so excited to tell my own Aggie Ring story,” Westrup said. “You always hear former students tell stories about how it got them a job or how they were in a country all the way across the other side of the world and they found an Aggie and clicked with the fact that they love A&M. I’m really excited to be able to do that. If someone ever asks me, ‘Has anything cool ever happened with your Aggie Ring?’ I want to be able to tell this cool story that seems so impossible.”

Westrup said two close friends and three family members will join her when she picks up her ring. Throughout Ring Day’s history, ring recipients have brought anywhere from six to 20 guests to commemorate the proud achievement, Walker said. There is no written rule about celebrating in the Alumni Center and for recipients to keep their family’s comfort in mind. The forecast is in the mid-90s both days, and every guest will have to walk at least a half-mile before entering the building.

“One of the things we want to reinforce with everyone is that there is no script for how Ring Day and ring delivery go once you receive the ring,” Walker said. “[Once] you get inside the building, we’re going to check your ID, your receipt and hand you [your] box. You don’t have to do anything right here in the building. You can take that box, slip it in your pocket or your purse, go home, bring all your friends and family there and have your own private ceremony there.”

A&M has one of the largest student bodies, and the university still fulfills the greatest proportion of ring orders compared to any other school in the nation, Walker said.

“Roughly 94% of undergraduates who qualify to earn their Aggie Ring order one,” Walker said. “That is exponentially higher than any other university in the country. The ring itself and Ring Day both have become part of the milestones of an Aggies’ time at [A&M].”

Other universities are adopting the trend of hosting their own university ring day. Institutions such as Stephen F. Austin and the University of Texas are imitating what A&M did first. Although other universities look to live up to what A&M started, these ring days do not compare to the scope and tradition of A&M, Walker said.

“Unless you went to a military academy, A&M pretty much invented the concept of a ring day,” Walker said. “Ours is certainly the largest. Nobody anywhere in this country has as large of an Aggie Ring program or Aggie Ring Day as Texas A&M does. That’s in large part because of the uncommon loyalty of Texas Aggies and the burning desire to earn that Aggie Ring.”

The Association has more information for ring recipients about what to know, what to bring and what to do when they arrive at the Alumni Center on its website.

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