TCM continues to keep the engineering spirit alive

Courtesy of UC

Jose Soto, Staff Reporter

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Students are gearing up to go green during this year’s Texas College of Mines celebration. As the longest-running celebration on campus, TCM strives to keep the original mining spirit of the university alive by engaging faculty, staff and students.

Mining and engineering-related events are put together by the Engineering Student Leadership Council and Engineering Alumni Chapter. They will take place on March 21. Some long-lasting traditions include “Walking the Long Green Line” and “Whitewashing the letter M.”

The “M” was first placed on the mountains off  Sun Bowl Drive by the Alpha Phi Omega social fraternity
in 1969.

“Washing the ‘M’ with white paint is definitely the most remarkable activity of that day,” said Juan Carlos Muñoz, an engineering graduate student. “It started in 1923 at the Mount Franklin until the ‘M’ was moved to where it is now.”

Gabby Gandara, director of  student services for the College of Engineering, said these traditions help the community connect to their roots.

“UTEP was at one time Texas Western College and before that, Texas College of Mines. We started as a School of Mines and Metallurgy (engineering) and have grown to be the awesome university we are today.  TCM helps showcase how engineering has taken us to greater heights.”

During “The Coming of St. Pat” tradition, a senior engineering student gets voted to be Saint Patrick and participates in a theatrical introduction to TCM. St. Patrick is the patron saint of engineers. The voted student then presides over all of the engineering events throughout the school year.

A new event this year is the rebranding of the traditional song.  The current song is about 100 years old, and the college is looking for something more contemporary.

“We currently have an outdated song, and are looking for something more relevant. Please note that the winning song will be utilized for the next 100 years. The contest will reward the winner with $250 and $50 to the runner-up,” Gandara said.

The Alpha Phi Omega Engineering Fraternity, which was founded in 1919 and is composed of engineering and geology students with high GPAs, will also be handing out student awards to recognize those who commit themselves to the departments’ legacy.

“TCM promotes engineering team work. It makes you value what your college is and shows you that engineers is not just a major, but a way of thinking. The biggest benefit of TCM is to realize what we as engineers are made of,” Muñoz said.

Gandara said overall the point of TCM is to encourage school spirit.

“In many cases, it’s the only thing that keeps students going and succeeding.  It also builds a stronger alumni base,” Gandara said.

According to Sergio Maldonado, mechanical engineering graduate, he has participated in TCM since 2010  and the idea of TCM being celebrated campus-wide demonstrates how UTEP is an intergrated community.

“This year, TCM is a great opportunity to keep an amazing tradition. But at the same time, to start a new one, where TCM is celebrated not only by the College of Engineering, but by UTEP and our community,” Maldonado said. “What a better time to start a new tradition than our centennial celebration?”

Registration for TCM can be done online by visiting tcm.utep.edu or by registering the day of the event.

The first 500 people to show will receive an orange Miner hard hat. Be sure to wear a white T-shirt and comfortable shoes, as you will be partaking in physical events.The department is asking for $3 and two canned goods which will be donated to The El Paso Rescue Mission.

Jose Soto may be reached at [email protected]