Despite humanitarian outcry and protest, freshmen students experienced one of Texas A&M’s oldest traditions for the first time Thursday night as the A&M student body celebrated the annual Raffle ceremony at Kyle Field.
“It was amazing,” said freshman Jerrod McLaren. “I walked to Kyle with my DG friends. When we reached the east side stands, I looked around and saw 45,000 of my fellow Aggies quietly standing ready for the ceremony. It was breathtaking.”
Standing before the students at mid-field was President Michael Young and four large, wooden boxes. All the screens in the stadium read “Four Will Be Chosen” in white lettering. Once all students had arrived, Young began the ceremony.
“Howdy,” Young said. “Let’s get started.” President Young reached into the first box labeled “Freshmen,” pulled out a small slip of paper with a student’s name on it, and read it out loud. He pulled one slip out of each of the boxes marked “Sophomores,” “Juniors,” and “Seniors,” as well, and read those names over the loudspeaker.
The four students were quickly retrieved from the crowd and brought to the field. Once the Raffle “winners” were restrained, spectators were instructed to throw their commemorative Aggie Spirit Stones™ until the students perished.
The Raffle has found its fair share of critics, but current and former students have come to its defense. “I know the Raffle isn’t perfect,” said sophomore Christie Vanda, “but it’s what we’ve always done, and protecting our traditions is what makes us special. It’s like the saying goes: ‘from the outside looking in, it’s human sacrifice. From the inside looking out, you can’t explain it.’”
“People get offended by everything nowadays,” said Franklin Burnette, a local businessman and former student. “Let’s say they do get rid of the Raffle. Next they’ll be tearing down our whole identity. We won’t even be able to sing the War Hymn, wave our towels, or burn liberal arts majors at the stake without outside media bossing us around.”
Young sent an email congratulating students on another successful Raffle. “The administration couldn’t be more proud of the student body’s participation and enthusiasm for this great tradition,” said Young. “Don’t forget, the Hunting of the Grad Students is just around the corner. Weapons and torches are available in the MSC Bookstore.”