By Rachel Jones, photos by Marcus Catlett
Loud crowds of excited, chatty people eagerly gather around Block A. It stands adjacent to Old Main and is decorated with bright, vibrant lights on the base. Anticipation fills the air as couples and singles take part in a revered tradition at Utah State University. Cheers, overlapping discussions and feelings of haste envelop the atmosphere while people bundle up in blankets and drink hot chocolate to keep warm in the 45-minute line. This is True Aggie Night, where Utah State students and alumni kiss atop Block A.
Sheldon Browning, director of Student Alumni Engagement, said the event “is unique to Utah State University and has become an Aggie identity.” In fact, 2015 marked True Aggie Night’s 99th anniversary. Through email conversation, archivist and historian Bob Parson noted, “The earliest mention I have found of the actual tradition of kissing on Block A under the full moon is 1972.” Block A, however, dates back to 1916. The monument was built by members of the Beno Club as retaliation for an administrative decision to ban clubs on campus. Almost a century later, Block A stands as tribute to the true Aggie spirit.
Kissing atop Block A unites Utah State students. Oakman Kennedy, president of the Student Alumni Association, said, “It unites all Aggies, whether they’re current students or alumni, into this common experience that is Utah State.” He added, “For Homecoming, Traditions Week and A Week, there are almost 1,000 people in attendance.”
Kennedy said these True Aggie Nights have the biggest turnouts, with up to five marriage proposals taking place on Homecoming night. Madison South and Jake Segura, both Utah State freshmen, were among the first-time participants who came together to become True Aggies. They said the event was free entertainment, a time to meet new people and step outside their comfort zones.
Paul Ewing, a freshman, went to True Aggie Night “for the great experience and to see the tradition being held up.” He also went “to see everyone happy and having fun” and participate. He said True Aggie Night “brings us together to become one.” Derek Smith, a freshman, agreed. “It’s a cool way to remember your experience in college. My family has come to this college for generations and it’s something we all do.”
“Each year the tradition lives on, the greater devotion to it,” Browning said. As students and alumni continue taking part in True Aggie Night, the tradition will remain strong and keep people united for generations to come. Utah State students keep the tradition alive.