With more than 2,000 student participants, the Corps of Cadets, Texas A&M’s oldest student organization, is facing major changes to tradition due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Corps of Cadets Commandant General Joe Ramirez stated in a Facebook post on March 16 that there are no Corps meetings or activities scheduled during A&M’s online-only class period.
“We are encouraging cadets to STAY HOME and conduct their on-line classes from home,” Ramirez said in the post. “The intent is for cadets to remain at home as much as possible, and for those who do return to campus to focus on academics only - NO CORPS ACTIVITIES.”
Additionally, March to The Brazos, Senior Dining Out and Final Review have been canceled and Campus Muster Committee announced that campus Muster will not be held in-person in Reed Arena as it is traditionally.
Head Yell Leader and Ross Volunteer Karsten Lowe said while he does understand the decisions, he is still disappointed.
“Seeing the way this is affecting all of these students that aren’t able to take part in the unique traditions at A&M saddens me,” Lowe said. “But also, I 100 percent understand the health concerns and at the end of the day this circumstance is bigger than us and is about national safety and health.”
Tanner Cedrone, the 2020-2021 Corps Commander, said although this situation can be seen by many as an obstacle, he is confident in the Corps’ ability to remain positive given the circumstances.
“We can look at this entire situation as an opportunity, and this is going to be one hell of an Old Army story,” Cedrone said. “This time that we have with our families is time that we can use to reflect on our past years and work towards continuing to make the Corps the organization that produces global leaders.”
While the Corps typically uses the period after Spring Break for the bulk of their training, in-person training is not possible with the guidance they have been given.
“As of right now all of [the training] is TBD,” Cedrone said. “I am working on an online variant of these trainings right now that could prove to be very effective. It might look like a lot of group chats over GroupMe or even Zoom but we are going to do whatever it takes.”
Cedrone said while experiences are an important part of the Corps, cadets won’t be harmed long term by these changes.
“I don’t think this situation could have any long term effects for the Corps,” Cedrone said. “The only thing that people are really missing out on are good memories.”
The canceling of events is disappointing for everyone, the rising Corps Commander said, but it is important to keep in mind that traditions will return.
“It is unfair and it does suck, but what we know as Aggies is that the tradition is us. We are the tradition,” Cedrone said. “If we keep our heads held high and we keep going, these traditions will only be canceled and they won't die.”