Class Councils and the Department of Student Activities at Texas A&M announced that the Elephant Walk tradition has been moved to the spring semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event is planned for Thursday, April 22 at 6:21 p.m. and will give students in-person and virtual options to participate.
Biomedical sciences senior and Elephant Walk Director Ellie Tilton said this decision came as a result of social distancing constraints during the planning process and a greater emphasis on safety for students.
Tilton said the director team hopes moving the tradition to April will allow for a safer, in-person experience.
“We had been planning for a fall tradition pretty much all summer,” Tilton said. “With the social distancing guidelines and the need for safety we… decided that the spring would probably have a chance for a more normal experience for the seniors.”
Though Elephant Walk is traditionally hosted in November prior to the last regularly scheduled home football game, Tilton said she believes the significance of the tradition will remain.
“Moving the date is a big deal because it is tradition that it is in the fall, but I think Elephant Walk will still have the same meaning in the spring,” Tilton said. “You can have Elephant Walk anytime, anywhere as long as you are connected with your friends and Aggie family.”
During Elephant Walk, thousands of seniors link arms and walk through campus remembering their time as students and stopping to hear speakers at signature campus landmarks. Tilton said that even though this year’s Elephant Walk will be different, it will represent the challenges the class has overcome throughout their senior year.
Political science senior and president Gunnar Smith said the decision to delay the tradition was not an easy one.
“This year has been tough because of COVID[-19],” Smith said. “We… were planning for it to be in November early on; however, as COVID[-19] cases continued to rise we decided it would be best to push it back for the safety of all Aggies.”
Elephant Walk symbolizes the end of the seniors' time at A&M. English senior and Class Council Executive Director Brandon Holmes said the executive team will continue to discuss all possible options to ensure the event is as inclusive as possible.
“We have had multiple conversations with the Association of Former Students, with our advisors and with student activities to discuss what we think is our best plan,” Holmes said. “We are making sure that we have all resources possible so that people feel included and can be included safely for this event.”
Future plans for the event are dependent upon the advice of public health officials and the university’s safety guidelines at the time.
“I think Elephant Walk is not necessarily about when it happens, but how it happens,” Holmes said.
To learn more about Elephant Walk, sponsored by Class Councils, visit Aggie Traditions.