For a taste of Texas college traditions, you can’t get much better than a visit to College Station, particularly in autumn when college football and the Aggies take center stage.

It’s hard to be in Bryan and College Station, Texas, and not get wrapped up in – or at least surrounded by – the Texas A&M spirit. No matter the season, the Aggies have a pride that can be heard in every “gig’ em” that’s exchanged between students (and alums) – more on that later – as well as a handful of quirky traditions steeped into campus life. This is an area that bleeds maroon and white, and the university has had 140 years to invent and then perfect a string of traditions that can turn a visit into a fun scavenger hunt built around experiencing them all.

Yet there’s no denying there’s one season where you don’t just hear, see, and experience Texas A&M traditions. In autumn, when the Aggies are on the football field, you can feel them reverberating out of the 102,000-seat stadium at Kyle Field on Saturdays. We absolutely suggest joining the rabid Aggies for an afternoon, yet that doesn’t mean you have to stay somewhere equally wild. Valencia Group has two new luxury hotels opened within the past year in College Station: The 162-room The George is a decidedly upscale, modern option among College Station hotels, with its funky and surprise Texas-infused art installations peppered throughout the property; Cavalry Court  maintains its luxury another way, with fun design touches that have infused the hotel with a retro military aesthetic. No matter which you choose, consider it your base camp for experiencing all the Aggie traditions you never knew you’d love so much.

Pennies on Sully

In need of a little luck? Head over to the statue of Lawrence Sullivan Ross, the beloved president of the university toward the end of the 19th century, and the man some say saved the school when it was on the brink. “Sully” would tutor A&M students and accept only “a penny for their thoughts” as payment. Today, his statue is routinely covered in pennies around exam time, as legend has it that it brings good luck to students.

Texas A&M Traditions Bottle Cap Alley

Bottle Cap Alley

The Dixie Chicken may not technically be on campus, but it’s tightly intertwined with Aggie culture, and was even name-checked by President George W. Bush in his 2008 commencement speech to the graduating class. Right next to the bar, “Bottle Cap Alley” earned its nickname from all the bottle caps that the Dixie Chicken and surrounding establishments would dump each night, covering the entire ground. As the years passed and restaurants and bars contributed less due to eco concerns and changing drinking habits (cans instead of bottles), Texas A&M students took the treasured tradition over and started hoarding their bottle caps to ceremoniously dump at Bottle Cap Alley to keep it full for the next generation of Aggies.

Gig ’Em

If you hear an Aggie exclaim “gig ’em!” and find yourself in the dark as to what exactly they’re talking about, wonder no longer. The tradition began in 1930 at the Midnight Yell before the football game against the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs. A member of the school’s board of directors and an alum (naturally) asked the crowd “What are we going to do to those Horned Frogs? Gig ’em, Aggies!” The phrase – literally meaning to hunt frogs – caught on, and more than a century later, it’s still uttered often in College Station.

Texas A&M traditions midnight yell

Midnight Yell Practice

The Midnight Yell is a sacred tradition at Texas A&M. Essentially A&M’s idea of a pep rally, the Yell occurs the night before every home game at midnight on Kyle Field. Like other pep rallies, they exist to hype up the crowd and get them excited for the big game, but they also, as the name suggests, serve as a practice for the student body to introduce new yells that they’ll use the next day to cheer on the football team and intimidate opponents, earning them their (literally trademarked) status as the 12th Man. Bring some earplugs if you must, but this is a College Station tradition you must experience and you can bring home with you in the form of a lost voice that you can wear with pride – Aggie pride, of course.

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