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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

Orchestrating a century-old tradition

Students organize annual campus Muster ceremony
Members of the 2023-2024 Aggie Muster Committee pose outside the Jack K. Williams Administration Building. (Photo courtesy of Aggie Muster Committee)

As Muster approaches, the Aggie Muster Committee works to organize a now century-old tradition. These students “coordinate every facet” of this sacred tradition at Texas A&M. 

With the application round of the student organization occurring at the beginning of the fall semester, biomedical science sophomore and ceremony and events coordinator for the committee Bella Van Hoosier said the planning process quickly begins upon being accepted.

“First few weeks, you’re learning about everything campus Muster,” Van Hoosier said. “And then you preference which subcommittee you would like to be on after learning all about them. Then we start working immediately after you get your sub-co … We have Tuesday night meetings from 7:30 [p.m.] to about 9:30 [p.m.] Sometimes they go longer.”

Allied health senior Lindsay Veech, who works as roll call coordinator for the committee,  said almost every aspect of the Muster ceremony is planned by them.

“Our job is to carry out this tradition that’s so time-honored at A&M,” Veech said. “We do everything from the logistics to coordinating the roll call … to awareness for the tradition to everything in between.”

Before joining the committee, biomedical science and entomology senior Kaitlyn Rogers said she believed students to be very hands-off with organizing Muster. However, now serving as the awareness and marketing executive for the committee, she has been able to see firsthand how heavily students are involved. 

“We have students that are roll call coordinators,” Rogers said. “Those are the students actually calling the families and talking to them. We have students that put on the reflections display; we have students that are spreading awareness about it, so it is very student-led [and] student-run.”

Veech said she’s been able to communicate with families of the honorees and facilitate a smooth process during this time.

“As roll call coordinator, when we receive submissions that someone has passed away, we’re the first point of contact with families to the tradition,” Veech said. “We also are the people helping guide them and walk them through the process up until the 21st … My entire job is to help ease the process for them and make sure that they feel both welcomed and prepared and understand what’s going to happen.”

On the day of the Muster ceremony, Van Hoosier said she’ll be working with her partner, Duncan Poling, to make finishing touches to the scenery and greet incoming families.

“The day of Muster will look like getting to Reed Arena, setting up the stage, setting up all the floral arrangements, setting up the family welcome room, making sure we have all the supplies that we need,” Van Hoosier said. “Me and my partner will be on the floor as the families come in, and we have the incredible privilege and honor of lighting the first candle for Muster. All of the candles that are lit come from one large candle in the very center, which symbolizes that it all comes from one thing and that’s the Aggie Spirit.”

Increasing outreach and awareness about Muster has been imperative in putting together this year’s ceremony. Rogers said her committee has worked hard to spread the message of this sacred tradition through social media, posters around campus and communicating with other campus organizations.

“My position specifically is awareness and marketing,” Rogers said. “So my whole role and my subcommittee’s role is to get people to Muster. We get to work on the program for Muster, we work on the poster going into it, we put up yard signs and this year, we’ve been thinking of new innovative ways to reach students that don’t know about Muster … Because the whole point is so people know about Muster, but also so that when families are sitting on the floor, they can look up and there’s 12,000 Aggies that answer ‘Here’ for their loved one.”

As a third-generation Aggie, Van Hoosier said her dad was also a member of the Muster committee during his time on campus. After knowing her father’s experience and speaking with the current Muster committee chair, Avery DeWolf, Van Hoosier said she immediately knew she was meant to be a part of the committee.

“As we all know, it is a huge university,” Van Hoosier said. “I felt so small, in the best way. I was just another student. And my freshman year, I really didn’t feel like I could make a difference in this big university, and I really was seeking a place that I could pour my time into that would affect and support other people.”

Muster is a unique tradition in the way it unites Aggies from all walks of life, Rogers said.

“I think with Muster the biggest thing is just the camaraderie of it and getting to be an Aggie and see what that looks like,” Rogers said. “There’s a lot of different perspectives, a lot of different experiences that have come out of A&M, but the one thing is we all care about each other, and no matter what happens, someone will be there to answer ‘Here’ for you.”

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About the Contributor
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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