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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Pachyderm parade

 
 

Nowhere but Aggieland can a girl call her sister an elephant, threaten to shoot her and mean it with nothing but love. As a younger sibling, Suzanne Rabbe, a junior agricultural economics major, has been doing just that by teasing her senior sister, Becky Rabbe, before she takes part in Elephant Walk.
Elephant Walk is a long-standing tradition for seniors at Texas A&M. According to aggietraditions.tamu.edu, it has its beginnings in 1922 when, after losing two football games, two members of the freshman class marched around Kyle Field to break the “jinx” on the Aggie football team. Others eventually joined the march. When those freshmen became seniors in 1926, their whole class joined together again for one final march around campus led by the same two “fish” who marched three years earlier. The final march symbolized how the senior class “died,” as elephants do in the wild. Now, every year, seniors come together and walk through campus, traditionally starting at Kyle Field and stopping at places of special significance to do yells to signify the end of their usefulness to the Twelfth Man. Despite the rain, both Elephant Walk and E-Walk will continue.
“It’s a time for seniors to spend time together as an entire class and reflect on their years here at A&M, what they’ve done, who they’ve become, how they’ve changed, how the campus has changed,” said Elephant Walk Director Hayley Henderson, a senior agricultural development major. “It’s a time for reflection and enjoyment because we are soon to be alumni and this is the last opportunity for us to come together as a singular group.”
Although Suzanne has been teasing her sister, she said she has no plans to play any tricks on her during the event because it would spoil the tradition. Instead, she will be participating in Junior E-Walk, a relatively new tradition in which the juniors have historically walked around campus as a whole class starting from Law/Puryear Field and do not cross paths with the seniors. This year, however, due to inclement weather, starting points will change to Rudder Auditorium and the Sullivan Ross Statue, for the senior and junior classes, respectively.
“To me, Junior E-Walk is when the junior class is finally getting to step up to lead the Twelfth Man,” said Katie Miller, Junior E-Walk director and special education major. “It was started for safety purposes (due to the juniors harassing the walking seniors), but now the incoming freshmen classes expect that there is a Junior E-Walk. Some don’t know it started only 12 years ago.”
Becky Rabbe said she has spent her years at A&M helping her younger sister through her time as an undergrad and that Elephant Walk makes her realize that she now must turn over the reins.
“The whole time we have been here at A&M together, I’ve been showing Suzanne the ropes by helping her get involved and get a good start on classes,” she said. “Next year will be the first year she is here by herself. Hopefully I’ve helped her out enough so that next year she can make it through and get her ring and graduate.”
Henderson said due to the weather, live elephants, photography, lunch and games that were planned are cancelled.
A program now relocated to Rudder Auditorium is scheduled for seniors at 12:45 p.m. before they begin the official Elephant Walk from there, which will begin at 2:05 rain or shine. The program and will include a speaker, Chuck Hinton from the Class of 1979, and the presentation of the class gift. This will be only the second time that the class gift has been announced at Elephant Walk, Henderson said.
“It’s usually announced at Ring Dance, but this gives us a chance as an actual senior class, when we are still a part of the Twelfth Man, to work on making sure that the class gift and all that we want to happen with it will come to fruition,” she said.
Junior E-Walk will now begin at the Sullivan Ross statue instead of Law/Puryear Field at 2:06 p.m. Following the walk, the juniors also have a program, which will begin between 2:45 p.m. and 3 p.m. at Rudder Auditorium. The speaker is Miles Marks, Class of 1979, and his speech will focus on getting the Class of 2006 excited about becoming seniors.
Henderson said she hopes at least 3,000 seniors to participate in the walk because it is an important time for the class as a whole.
“Elephant Walk is a one-time deal. You don’t invite dates. It’s not anybody from another class. It’s the senior class. It’s the time when you come with those people that you came in with as freshmen and you are leaving with as seniors,” she said. “Elephant Walk really is a special day to look back and remember the first day you stepped foot on campus and what it looked like to you then and to look at it now through completely different eyes. It’s kind of a sense of completion.”

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