Award-winning Aggie traditions

Taking the Unitrans bus, going to the Silo Union and eating at the ASUCD Coffee House may seem like a daily routine to most students. Little do they know that these are part of 50 Aggie traditions that could earn them a medallion to walk with at graduation.

The 50 Aggie traditions is a challenge that began in 2008 but has never been truly promoted until this year. The Cal Aggie Alumni Association (CAAA) created a list of 50 activities and events unique to the Davis community. Once a student has completed all 50 during their time at UC Davis, the Student Alumni Association (SAA) awards them with a medal and traditions booklet at the end of the school year to acknowledge them as a true Aggie.

“If you keep track of the traditions, they’ll help you keep track of what’s going on on campus,” said Sarah Ng, a second-year sociology and psychology double major and SAA director of traditions. “And it’s just a way that the whole campus comes together to promote UC Davis.”

The challenge was created a few years ago, but not many students knew about the traditions. This year, the SAA is working to better promote and implement the challenges by tabling at events, posting flyers around campus and advertising through Facebook. Students who complete all 50 traditions this year will be the first group to do so.

“I’m determined to finish all of them, which is actually totally possible,” said Angelica Thornton, a fourth-year political science major and SAA vice president of outreach and alumni relations. “I’ve been taking pictures, completing a bunch of them this year, and I’m on track to finish all [of] them, so it’s possible.“

Thornton said she has completed about 45 traditions but has not recorded them. She is starting over this year and wants to capture photos at each event for her own keepsake, and thus she is currently at 12 for the year.

Although there is a total of 49 traditions — with the 50th being a tradition you make yourself — students find that they have completed many of them from simply attending UC Davis. For instance, traditions include visiting the Arboretum, reading The Aggie and studying in the library. However, some require more conscious effort, such as seeing a show at the Mondavi Center, riding the Davis bike loop and taking part in Pajamarino, which only happens once a year.

“I have mixed feelings on how difficult it is to achieve,” said Mandy Hanou, a fourth-year human development major. “I mean, you can’t make it too easy so that everybody could do it. You have to have a certain amount of Aggie pride and want to try it to earn the medallion.”

Hanou has been in the UC Davis Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh! since her freshman year, and says she owes her completion of 40 traditions to all the events they have attended.

Students can fill out a PDF form available online and submit it to the SAA for their medallion and booklet at the end of the school year. Although students are encouraged to take pictures at each event, it is not required, which brings up the question of honesty.

“I love the fact that we’re giving out a medal and a booklet, but I don’t believe that students would intentionally lie just to get one medal from SAA,” Thornton said. “It doesn’t mean anything. It’s not a gold medal. So it is done on the honor system. There’s no purpose for a student to lie about it. If they like the idea, then they’re most likely going to do it for the fun of doing it and the spirit of being an Aggie.”

Fun and Aggie spirit are only two reasons the SAA is advocating the traditions. Ng, who is halfway through the challenge, also said that the traditions are essential to the UC Davis experience and as a way to get involved on campus, to know about all the events, to promote UC Davis and to meet new people.
“They’re all really realistic things to do, and they’re all things that you should do while you’re at Davis to really take advantage of all that the campus has to offer,” Ng said.

Along with CAAA and ASUCD, the SAA is working with different on-campus organizations, such as the CoHo and ASUCD Bike Barn, to hold events promoted as the name of the event and tradition number. The Aggie Traditions Facebook page invites students to events, such as football games, which are tradition number nine. However, Thornton said that the SAA is working with organizations now in hopes that these organizations will hold their own events to promote Aggie traditions in the future.

The list of traditions and PDF form can be found online, but Thornton said the SAA is in the process of creating a phone application to help students keep better track of the list. She said that this will make it easier and hopefully encourage students to take part in the challenge.

“You’re not going to have this forever,” Thornton said. “It’s going to be gone in a flash, so enjoy it while you can [and] remember it while you can. Make some memories; have some fun.”

JOYCE BERTHELSEN can be reached at features@theaggie.org.

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