Hundreds of Colorado State University Students to Paint the ‘A’ Saturday, Aug. 25

In a tradition dating to 1924, about 200 Colorado State University students on Saturday will scramble over boulders and through scraggly brush to give the university’s iconic Aggie “A” its annual whitewash.

Repainting of the “A” on the foothills above CSU’s Hughes Stadium will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 25. Student volunteers will be bused to the site from Moby Arena and will work in three-hour shifts. The job is expected to be complete by about 3 p.m.

Reporters, photographers and videographers are invited to cover the event. The “A” may be accessed from Centennial Drive (County Road 23) on the east side of Horsetooth Reservoir. Parking is available in a paved lot near the site; a short hike is required to reach the “A.”

Students will use paint sprayers to apply 200 gallons of white paint to the grass, shrubs, rocks – and even trees – that compose the hillside emblem. The “A” is 450 feet tall and 210 feet wide, and is listed on the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties with the notation that it is “an example of hillside monograms, which are distinctive landmarks in Western states.”

The “A” is a testament to the university’s history: CSU formerly was known as Colorado A&M, and its students and teams were the “Aggies.” Although the university’s name and mascot have evolved, its agricultural roots have remained intact – along with the annual fall tradition of repainting the “A.”

Notes regarding the 2012 repainting effort:

• About 200 student volunteers will help paint the “A.”

• In keeping with tradition, freshmen members of the CSU Rams football team will haul paint and supplies up a rugged trail to the top of the “A” after their team practice on Friday evening.

• Members of Student Alumni Associates, the local chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and students in the CSU College of Agricultural Sciences are among the many enthusiastic painting volunteers.

• Key coordinators of the painting project are: Bill Woods, a CSU alumnus and retired U.S. Army colonel who painted the “A” when he was a student in the 1950s; Marshall Frasier, a professor in the CSU Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics; and Lindsay Sell, who works with student programs in University Advancement. Woods and Frasier will be at the “A” on Saturday and will be available to answer questions.

• Kwal Paint has donated 200 gallons of white paint for the job.

• The “A” is a northern Colorado landmark constructed in 1923. Annual repainting efforts faded during some stretches of time in the 89 years after the emblem’s construction, but Woods mounted an effort to revive the annual tradition when he retired from the Army. He viewed repainting as a fun way for contemporary students to connect with CSU history, and to kick off the fall semester.