The prominent white "A" displayed on the foothills overlooking Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium is the oldest ongoing tradition associated with CSU. The "A" stands for Aggies. The "A" evolved after World War I, when a trend began among colleges to display the school insignia on a hill near campus. At a special assembly on Dec. 4, 1923, the students of the State Agricultural College (as CSU was then known) agreed it was time to erect such an emblem. A group of military volunteers formed the "AL" club and donated vehicles for transporting supplies, and female students provided food for the workers.
The college declared Dec. 12 a special holiday, and students worked from that morning until mid-afternoon to form the "A." Construction was completed in just six hours. One small detail was missing: the school didn't own the land on which the insignia sat. The college and governing board members met with landowner R.G. Maxwell and negotiated a long-term lease for the sum of $1.
The following year, on Sept. 20, students lengthened and widened the "A" to its present size of 450 feet high and 210 feet across. For many years, the class carried out the annual tradition of whitewashing the "A." Today, the "A" is an official landmark. Each fall, freshman football players join forces with several campus organizations to give the "A" a fresh coat of white paint.
During that annual tradition, students have the opportunity to hike to the "A." Before the hike begins, students are given a small white pebble to carry with them. The half-mile hike takes students on a scenic trek leading them to the tip of the "A" where they are met by members of the Student Alumni Connection and learn about the significance of the "A." As students prepare to make their descent back down the hill, they are encouraged to reflect upon the mark they will leave at CSU and are asked to each leave their pebble as a symbol of that mark.