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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

‘Here’: Commemorating all Aggies worldwide

Aggies celebrate sacred tradition across the globe
A group of Aggies met for Muster last year in Florence, Italy. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Price/Italy A&M Club)

Spanning from rural towns to busy cities, Aggie Muster reaches former students far and wide.

Muster ceremonies are held on April 21 in over 300 locations — domestically and internationally. On the same day every year, no matter the place, Aggies around the world gather together for one purpose.

Srinivas Praveen Mokkapati, Class of 2006 and one of the Muster chairs for the India A&M Club, organizes Muster for the Hyderabad region. He said his motivation to become more involved with the tradition grew upon graduating.

“I returned back home to India right after graduation,” Mokkapati said. “I didn’t spend time living in the States working anywhere over there … I used to constantly look back at the memories back in Aggieland. Of course, football was one big thing, a strong reason for me to stay connected, but I think when you are away, you start to realize the value of some of these traditions from A&M — the Silver Taps, Muster and [a] bunch of other traditions that are so native to A&M — that [you] sort of look back when you’re away from campus.”

Coordinating Muster around the world can vary from place to place. Ryan Price, Class of 1991 and president of the Italy A&M club, said organizing Muster in Italy has not come without its challenges.

“I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Italy, but trying to find a location that can house 20, 30, 40, 50 people [is] not an easy task,” Price said. “Most of the restaurants and things are pretty small. We would host it at our home, but our home is in the country, and it would take a lot of work for people to try to get to our house … So we’re hosting it in Florence, it’s central for us.”

All Musters are held with the same purpose: to honor Aggies that passed in the last year. However, Price said the traditional campus Muster is different from others around the world. 

“The one in College Station is a little more formal and proper, and rightfully so,” Price said. “It’s more about the event and honoring the loved ones that have gone on and the students, et cetera … The Italy Muster, or the London Muster, or the one in Los Angeles, … there, you’re probably going to a restaurant, maybe a hotel, a bar or someone’s house. It can be on the beach, a lake house, backyard — doesn’t matter. You’re getting together and you’re sharing your time in College Station.”

John Warren, Class of 1986 and president of the Richmond A&M Club, serves as the Muster chair and organizes two Musters each year: one in Richmond, Virginia and another in Charlottesville, Virginia. For him, figuring out how to approach Muster was a learning experience. 

Warren organized his first Muster in Richmond on the same night as an A&M baseball game and planned to celebrate game night as well. Afterwards, he worried the event didn’t reflect the “seriousness and somber nature of Muster.”

“I reached out to our contact at the Association,” Warren said. “I said, ‘Hey, this is my idea. Am I on the right track?’ And he said, ‘John, all that matters is that Aggies get together. The rest is all noise’ …  That drove home to me the importance of Muster. Yes, we want to read the roll call for the absent … but at the end of the day, if we can get Aggies together, we’ve done our job.”

A group of Aggies met for Muster last year at the Radisson Hyderabad Hitec City in Hyderabad, India. (Photo courtesy of Praveen Mokkapati/India A&M Club)

The Aggie Spirit has spread significantly, especially in India, Mokkapati said. 

“I think we have come to a stage where every city does this Muster,” Mokkapati said. “It just happens organically now, much unlike in the past. Now, it’s institutionalized. In the past, it was probably just Bangalore doing it, but now, because of the city-specific groups that have formed, there is a lot of coordination that’s possible.”

Organizing Muster overseas has impacted more individuals beyond Aggies. Price said Italian hospitality was both warm and welcoming, igniting a sense of curiosity from those foreign to the tradition.

“Last year, we had two gentlemen that were watching that were the waitstaff, and they brought up the owner and the people from the kitchen, not [to] participate, to listen,” Price said. “And then they wanted to find out about A&M. As they did that, they were coming to us asking all types of questions, and so now we’ve become friendly with the restaurant owner … He asked, ‘Hey, would it be okay if I come to your Muster?’ So now we’re getting other people to join in that are not even associated with A&M. They’re local. That’s a comforting feeling, knowing that we’re building more of a network beyond A&M.”

Although Warren said he didn’t understand much of the importance of Muster while a student on campus, his appreciation and value of his role as an Aggie has since grown. 

“It was a natural progression when I became president,” Warren said. “ … Having been on that journey of realizing the importance of Muster, what a sacred tradition it was, it wasn’t something that I was going to take lightly and say, ‘OK, yeah, well, you know, get a couple of Aggies together and call it a day.’”

Knowing that the Aggie connection extends worldwide provides Price a sense of reassurance.

“It’s comforting to know that one day when I pass, that’s going to happen for me,” Price said. “For my family — I have two Aggie sons and a daughter-in-law — for them to know that wherever they’re at on that Muster, they’ll go and they’ll hear my name called [and] they’ll answer ‘here.’”

You can find your nearest Muster on The Association of Former Students’ website.

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Sydnei Miles
Sydnei Miles, Head Life & Arts Editor
Sydnei Miles is a communication sophomore and journalism minor from Houston, Texas. She began reporting for The Battalion in the fall 2022 semester covering culture and community events happening on and around campus. Since January 2024, Sydnei has served as The Battalion's head Life & Arts editor and previously served as the assistant Life & Arts editor for some of the spring 2023 semester and for the fall 2023 semester.
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