Sep 092009
 
Authors: Madeline Novey

Today, dozens of students and volunteers will lug generators and spray guns to the top of a hill west of Hughes Stadium and throw 200 gallons of white paint onto the iconic CSU Aggie “A.”

As part of an 86-year-old tradition, members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, Student Alumni Connection, the College of Agricultural Sciences and CSU football’s redshirt freshmen have already committed to rejuvenating the symbol of this university’s agriculture-centric past. All CSU students are invited to take part in the tradition.

When CSU was the Colorado Agricultural and Mechanical College, students and a collection of military volunteers erected the 450-foot tall by 210-foot wide tribute to the Aggie mascot on Dec. 12, 1923, according to the “Forever Green Book.” Inspiration for the project came from a collegiate trend — painting the school mascot’s letter on a hill nearby the campus — that emerged after WWI.

Because the university didn’t own the land at the time, the college and governing board negotiated a lease of the land from R.G Maxwell for one dollar.

The “hands-on tradition” is a “great opportunity for students to leave their mark at CSU,” said Student AlumniConnection President Kimmer Tennant.

“You’re on top of the “A,” so you’re surrounded by white and surrounded by students,” she said, adding that students wanting to participate should be prepared to get “covered in paint.”

Driving his old truck around town to pick up spray guns Tuesday afternoon, Bill Woods, who first painted the “A” as a freshman at CSU in 1954 as a member of SAE, said it will require more than 100 students to complete the whitewashing process and keep the tradition from dying off.

“(Painting the “A” is) a part of CSU history, and like a lot of other history items, not only at the university but in the country, we need to keep these traditions alive,” Woods, a current SAE adviser, said.

News Managing Editor Madeline Novey can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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