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

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

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

Seniors, juniors remember time at A&M during Elephant Walk

Photo by Photo by: Kevin Chou

After meeting at the Sanders Corps of Cadets Center, the junior and senior classes marched in different directions to different iconic campus landmarks as part of Elephant Walk, a tradition that dates back to the 1920s and serves as a time for upperclassmen to remember their time at A&M .

Stopping first in Academic Plaza, Student Body President Joseph Benigno talked to the class of 2016 about Silver Taps.

“[Mentioning] Silver Taps and the names [of our fallen classmates] are not read out of sadness — and Silver Taps is not conducted in a spirit of sadness — but in a spirit of joyful remembrance.” Benigno said “It’s obviously somber and very respectful, but the idea is to highlight the significance of the family members of our class of 2016 who unfortunately couldn’t be here.”

Mac Garman, senior business management major, agreed with Benigno. Garman said Elephant Walk is an important time to reflect on those classmates who couldn’t share in the experience.

“Those people are members of the Class of 2016 as well, so it’s something you just have to really think about.” Garman said “You know, like how privileged you are to be here – to have this moment to reflect back when other people didn’t get that chance.”

After Academic Plaza, the walk headed to the YMCA building to hear from Frank Cox, head yell leader of the Class of 1965. Hitting on everything from the importance of the Aggie family to remembering the brave Ags who had come before, Cox encouraged students to be serious; serious about life, serious about school and serious about family — but never too serious about themselves.

Cox said it was nice to see so many Aggie faces out for the Elephant Walk, the reverence of which told him they were the real-deal.

“It’s so good to see so many Aggie seniors turn out for this great tradition that some people have forgotten all about,” Cox said. “They were so quiet and reverent and attentive, it was easy to talk to them. [From] the expression on their face, I could tell they were the real stuff – rough tough real stuff, fightin’ Texas Aggies.”

Texas A&M President Michael Young gave one of the final speeches of the night in between the Liberal Arts Building and the Administration Building. During the speech Young talked about how proud he was of the class of 2016, how he knew they were going to go on to do wonderful things because they are Aggies, and how happy he was to have the privilege to serve as president.

Young said one of the things he has been so taken with during his short time as president are A&M’s traditions – traditions he says are the roots of A&M’s greatness.

“I am tremendously enamored at the traditions here,” Young said. “I think the traditions – they communicate, they anchor in, they pass, generationally, the values of this place. And you see class after class after class coming in the same way, and it doesn’t change.”

Young said his advice for students moving on into the world would be to live up to the responsibility that comes with having such a terrific education – but that he knows, as Aggies, they will.

“The fundamental understanding, the responsibility that comes with the privilege of a great education, is to use it to make the world a better place.” Young said “To kind of keep that focus, to not only do what you love but to do what matters – and to do it with integrity, to do it with real character, is what I think really sets Aggies apart, and what I think gives a life real meaning.”

Courtney Clyde, communication senior, said Elephant Walk means looking back on the past four years with admiration, and looking forward with hopefulness.

“It’s our last opportunity to kind of just take in everything that we’ve done these last 4 years and just appreciate our last times of being students here. So our last time as really standing as the 12th man and that embodiment of everything it means.” Clyde said “You think it’s like the end of it — it’s a lot of emotions, it’s bittersweet — it feels like the beginning of something bigger, but it’s also the end of something amazing.”

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