Seniors will soon embark on the bittersweet Elephant Walk, honoring their class and uniting for their last walk on campus together.
Elephant Walk will occur on Thursday, and the participating seniors will step off from the Quad at 6:20 p.m. Elephant Walk is a free event provided by Class Councils, and any senior from the Class of 2020 is welcome to participate.
Elephant Walk is a longstanding tradition at Texas A&M that started in 1922. After the loss of a few football games, two freshmen decided to play a funeral march and walk around campus. They carried on the tradition as seniors to reminisce on their time at A&M. This event is engrained in Aggie tradition and has occurred before the last home football game every year since 1926.
Kaylee Trotter, kinesiology senior and director of Elephant Walk, has been planning this year’s event since its completion last year. Trotter said Elephant Walk is an important symbol for students to reflect upon their accomplishments and to have that last time with their class instead of always looking to what is ahead.
“Elephant Walk provides seniors that opportunity to give their last farewells and to reflect on their time here,” Trotter said. “Especially before taking that last step forward.”
Trotter is involved in every aspect of Elephant Walk and has become increasingly passionate about it. To Trotter, Elephant Walk is a memorable and important experience for the senior class. Trotter said this year’s Elephant Walk will be a unique event with new and engaging activities, such as a custom fable told by the Yell Leaders only for Elephant Walk.
Lane Morris, biology senior and assistant director for public relations and marketing, said there will be a distinguished speaker and the revelation of the Class of 2020 gift. The history of Elephant Walk is what makes it so special to the campus and its students, Morris said.
“It’s one of A&M’s oldest traditions,” Morris said. “When those [original] freshmen became seniors, they decided to take one final walk around campus together for the last time to relive their time at Aggieland. As they were walking, they all began to put their hands on each other’s shoulders, and an observer noted that they looked like elephants about to die.”
Morris said Elephant Walk is a unique tradition to the A&M campus and provides a lot of nostalgia for the students as they embark on one last walk around campus.
“It’s one of the traditions that fully embodies the Aggie Spirit in every way,” Morris said. “Through this tradition, we are able to celebrate the diversity, uniqueness and individualism of every member of the Class of ‘20, while it still being a completely unifying tradition that brings everyone together one last time before we graduate.”
Although Elephant Walk is a time for seniors to reflect and reminisce, it is also something for them to look forward to. Biology freshman Kelsey Mainard said Elephant Walk is a symbolic gesture of the senior class leaving campus with pride.
“As a freshman, I am already starting to learn about the traditions of our school,” Mainard said. “So, as a senior, I can only imagine the amount of excitement that goes into walking with your whole class.”