University traditions: the big ‘whoop’ and 11 others

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Photo from The Texas A&M System Office of Information Technology

A map of the universities and agencies that are a part of the Texas A&M system.

Every university has their special traditions, whether they involve senior rings, special days or game-time rituals, but if you live in Texas or are familiar with Texas culture, you know that Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas takes the cake. From the ring dunk, to the aggie war hymn, to Northgate, they were given the nickname “the cult” for a reason.

“As a student, the traditions here at A&M make me feel really included,” said Victoria King, senior communications major at Texas A&M University. “It’s something to connect everyone, like at my ring dunk there was someone who graduated from A&M in the 90’s and it gave us something to talk about because the traditions have carried on for such a long time.”

Although these traditions are great for students in College Station, what about the other 11 A&M system schools?

“I’ve heard about the system schools because I have family members and friends that go to them and they’re great, but I just don’t know a lot about them. Texas A&M doesn’t really talk about the system schools too much, but I know they exist. I just kind of figured they do whatever we do, but at the same time I don’t really know,” King said.

The lack of knowledge that A&M students have and the lack of recognition that A&M gives to its system schools can rub system school students the wrong way or provide negative perceptions of A&M itself. Jarrell Lawrence, junior education major at Texas A&M University Texarkana, spoke on the treatment of A&M as a system school student.

“A&M Texarkana is A&M’s newest school and it’s been an interesting experience there. A lot of people will see system schools as stepping stones to get to College Station because of [Program for System Admission], which is super popular. People go to Texarkana and treat it as a way into College Station, and I know they do that at other schools as well. It’s kind of damaging because it holds the university back from the progress that it needs to make as an institution,” Lawrence said.

The PSA program is where a student can attend a system school and if they do well their first year then they can attend College Station. Although this program can be beneficial, it still segregates A&M from its other schools. Some students are so focused on the end goal of A&M, they may not grasp onto opportunities at their system school. Seth Rodriquez, student body president at West Texas A&M University, is a former member of the PSA program. He chose to stay at WTAMU because he knew it held its own value.
“As soon as I stepped onto campus at WT I knew I wasn’t going to be leaving. In the Texas A&M alma mater there’s a line that says ‘there’s a spirit can ne’er be told’ and while I think that’s true, the spirit of west Texas is individualistic and unique,” Rodriquez said.

WTAMU has a unique history of its own, being built in 1910, catching fire and rebuilding into what it is today. Throughout the many years, exciting traditions such as the wagon wheel game, Buff Branding, and “West Texas Wednesdays” shaped WTAMU into the wonderful place that it is.

“I do at times wish that WT had more traditions and students would engage more in the ones we do have, but we are creating new ones and hopefully those carry on as well,” Rodriquez said.

Although Aggieland is specifically known for its traditions, it’s important to understand that even the system schools have their own, and to cherish them.

“We are all under the same brand, the A&M system, so we need to act like a family,” Rodriquez said.