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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 BattalionMay 4, 2024

Keep the spirit

Joseph+Hood+served+as+the+2016-2017+Student+Senate+speaker+and+has+worked+on+various+pieces+of+legislation+during+his+time+in+Student+Senate.
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Joseph Hood served as the 2016-2017 Student Senate speaker and has worked on various pieces of legislation during his time in Student Senate.

In my tenure in the Student Senate, I have watched the Spirit “die” at A&M more times than I can count.

It “died” when the seal was changed for marketing purposes.

It “died” when key student services were moved to West Campus.

It “died” when Walton became co-ed, when we were asked to stay off the wood during football games and when the student body radically expanded in the last five years.

Many times when a change has happened on campus, we stood against those changes and argued that they were irrevocable, that with the change of a seal or a building name we were going to lose what makes Texas A&M special. This is not unreasonable. If we do not guard what makes us special, and do so zealously with the obsession only an Aggie can muster, then there is always the real danger that we will forget who we are in a quest to be someone we are not.

But in my four years I have learned that we underestimate the Spirit. It is far stronger than words or physical spaces or university policies.

To argue that it is shifts the responsibility of its preservation to others. It is to look at the change around us and say, “Of course Old Army is dead! An administrator has changed this university rule, or the Board of Regents has forced change upon us.” With such an attitude, we can excuse the role we play. But there is no Texas A&M University without its Fightin’ Texas Aggies.

This attitude is not isolated to College Station. Nationally we are in a climate of blame, everything going wrong is because of the actions of those that we put in power, and not on the shoulders of the very people who put them there. It is as if we have collectively forgotten that our government is of the people, and as such is a reflection of who we are as a society. Do you believe that our politics are petty, and that the national dialogue is toxic? A democracy is a mirror for its people, and we would do well to consider as much in the coming years as we go out and do what Aggies do and change the world. I know I will.

But I digress (as those of you who know me know I often do, and are probably rolling your eyes at my self-indulgent pontification).

As I say goodbye, what I ultimately want to say to my Aggie Family is that keeping the Spirit is ultimately dependent on how every Aggie chooses to live their life. The only way the Spirit will die is if current and former students let it, and the only way to let it die is to deny our own responsibility in keeping it. As long as we uphold our core values and Honor Code and look to serve our fellow man over ourselves, the Spirit will live on.

Do not get me wrong; I am concerned for our school. I am concerned that we have outgrown our ability to form a cohesive community, that as the cost of higher education continues to increase many students will be priced out of attending, and that little changes like the prioritization of hotel construction over key student services and class space will slowly kill what makes us so unique.

But I went to Campus Muster and listened to Ed Davis ’67 tell story after story about Ags who went to Vietnam to serve their country. I look back at the entire class of 1917, who canceled their graduation to enlist in the fight for freedom. Every single man. In the same tradition, Aggies today are going to serve their nation in every field and capacity.

No, the Spirit has not “died.” It is alive and burning in our hearts today, with every Whoop, every Howdy and every note of Silver Taps floating across Academic Plaza. Do not forget it, and please do not take it for granted. I know I haven’t.

Keep the Spirit.

 

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