Fish Camp. Every aggie’s first tradition. Whether it’s the luxurious dining of Lakeview Methodist Conference Center, hours of bellowing both real and imaginary yells, or awkwardly grinding with your DG leader and future classmates to Ke$ha’s “Die Young” – every Aggie holds fond memories of their first adventure into collegiate life.
Pulling into Reed Arena, the timid incoming freshmen can’t help but gaze in awe and wonder of what the next four (or possibly seven) years hold in store for them, and Fish Camp has long served as a gateway into this world of excitement and adventure. This year’s campers, however, might be undergoing a slightly different experience, as a change in Fish Camp policy has recently been announced.
In a surprising move, The Fish Camp Director Staff has unanimously decided to increase the number of facial piercings required by fish camp counselors. The previous requirement, established in 2010, set a condition of one facial piercing per counselor, an act that was highly regarded as successfully promoting A&M’s diversity and welcoming atmosphere.
“Our goal is to introduce the incoming fish to what campus life is actually like,” Head Director Alex Kalin said. “We want every camper to immediately recognize that A&M is a family of all shapes and sizes, and that we embrace the spirit of free choice and nonconformity.”
Fish Camp was established in 1954, with the purpose of
indoctrinating educating incoming Aggies about various traditions and organizations that they can be a part of. Moreover, it provides a secure network of friends and mentors for those freshmen without a support system already in place.
Fish Camp has always been student led, ensuring that the experience can be specifically tailored to the ever changing culture and life of Texas A&M. Piercings, along with bleached hair, cross-dressing, and latent homoerotic behavior, is one such way that Fish Camp has evolved over the years in order to better align with A&M’s shifting norms.
“I started with just my ears,” senior Seth Frank told The Mugdown, “but this year I’m getting my eyebrows, lip, and nose done as well.”
Funlola Fagbohhun, Director of Staff Development, first proposed the facial piercing amendment. Fagbohhun said, “I think this is the perfect way to show the freshmen, along with the entire world, that A&M isn’t the conservative, intolerant university that it used to be.”
Many see the move as a direct front against Texas University, who has largely dominated the more unconventional demographic due to its location in the heavily liberal city of Austin.
“You don’t have to be a T-Sip to have bleached hair and a nose ring,” said Christian Tulio, a third year Fish Camp Counselor. “I feel like this will really ramp up the competition, and many who are turned off by the Aggie’s supposed conservative spirit will have to think twice before deciding.”
In a related note, Fish Camp has recently added a new sponsor to their ranks, which includes Jason’s Deli, Blue Baker, and the late Sully’s Bar and Grill. “To The Point”, a local tattoo parlor and piercing center, has hardily agreed to fill the spot left by the unfortunate sport’s bar and has even committed to set up an operations center at the Lakeview Methodist Conference Center this summer. There, fish camp attendees will be given the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of their fish camp counselors and receive a complimentary piercing at camp.
“We are humbled by the opportunity to shape A&M’s future,” Kalin said, “and we hope to leave a lasting mark on the face of this campus that will guide our university for years to come.”