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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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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

Stark symbolism

Except for a few key buildings around campus, it isn’t a secret that Aggieland architecture is a little outdated. From buildings resembling war bunkers to those representing the 1980s New Wave-era, A&M architecture could use a face lift. Yet, amid this concrete jungle, there stands one of the campus’ newest memorials. Its meaning is sacrificial, the Freedom from Terrorism memorial evokes feelings of gratitude, though aesthetically, it’s just another eye sore.
Building by building, the same rings true across campus: though meaningful, our architecture seriously lacks pleasing attributes. Now, you can blame this on the Aggies or the architects of the past, attributing it to this generation as something new and hip. Take a nice, long look around and notice that even now, these same unattractive monuments, memorials and mass classrooms are being built right before our eyes.
With rows of cubed concrete representing Aggies fighting for our freedom and two free-standing walls intended to represent the Twin Towers and Sept. 11, the memorial’s beauty is much deeper than its skin would have you believe.
Despite all that, I, for one, think it’s about time A&M architecture start to aesthetically represent our inner beauty. Our southern university status has us near neighboring schools like Ole Miss and Georgia, whose campuses are living legends to the extravagance of the past. The old South is dead and gone, to be certain, but its legacy is one in which we live every day. The humid atmosphere, the huge trees, the incessant rain – the South is a region all its own, almost a country. Why not pay tribute to the architecture of that past; the architecture that itself defined a people and a way of life. Merely a suggestion.
I know, of course, beauty isn’t everything when it comes to meaning. An old, worn-out teddy bear – really just a piece of material that used to take on a bear-like shape – once upon a time, can mean the world to a child. Heck, it can even mean a lot to a college student, but would your Aggie Ring mean the same if it were plastic?
I would argue that if it were, both the personal experience and the object would lose their value. Monetary value would be lost, of course, but what it means to its wearer and to those who see it being worn would be affected as well. After all, if you aren’t willing to invest in something that means a lot to you, how much can it possibly mean?
The ring represents so much, not only for those who chose to purchase it, but also as a network of people. It’s like a diploma, but so much more. It is one of the things that separates Aggies from other graduates – a representation of our tradition of pride, and pride in that pride.
Sure, the Freedom from Terrorism memorial is great in theory and honorable in practice, but no memorial on any campus I want to be a part of should evoke an “Is that all?” response when revealed.
It’s about time Texas A&M gets in touch with its inner beauty, one construction project at a time.

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