El Paso, TX (KTSM) — UTEP's Texas College of the Mines (TCM) Day kicked off with the Miners whitewashing the "M" Friday morning.
Celebrated each year in March in observance of St. Patrick's Day, TCM Day is the oldest continuous student tradition at UTEP.
The annual rite of passage started in 1920 when UTEP was known as the Texas College of Mines and Metallurgy to initiate new engineers and geologists into the Order of St. Patrick, the patron saint of engineers.
For the first time, students, faculty and staff from all disciplines will join engineering majors in the festivities to honor the University's mining heritage and earn their official TCM Day Green Cards.
"Instead of painting green lines to divide the university, engineering students will lead the Long Green Line and the other festivities throughout the day," Gabby Gandara, director of engineering student services, said about the green lines that engineering students traditionally paint prior to TCM Day to separate the College of Engineering from the rest of the University. "This will be a new and stronger TCM Day that will last the next 100 years or more of UTEP life."
The day started at 7:30 a.m. with registration and a canned food drive in the Sun Bowl north parking lot.
At 8 a.m. Miners will began to whitewash the "M" on the mountain off of Sun Bowl Drive, a tradition that dates backs to 1923 when students first assembled brooms, buckets and whitewash to paint the "M" on Mount Franklin.
A simulated dynamite blast also took place in Sun Bowl Stadium to commemorate the University's mining roots. Participants also will learn a new mining song.
Other spirited festivities include the Coming of St. Pat, where students who are members of the mighty Guard of St. Pat at UTEP will dress as Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl and other memorable characters from the Toy Story film series to welcome St. Pat to campus.
St. Pat will then lead future engineers, alumni and participants from the other colleges and school in the "Long Green Line," a procession to the Classroom Building, for the team challenge course, a new engineering-inspired event that begins at noon.
The team challenge is a seven station obstacle course where Miners will learn about the evolution of mining from using serapes or pans to sift for gold and other mining techniques.
As a final step to earning their Green Cards, participants will kiss the Blarney Stone, a 1,000-pound boulder in front of the Engineering Building, which will be painted green for the occasion. The act is said to give the kisser the gift of eloquence and persuasiveness. The kissing will take place between noon and 1:30 p.m.
The day will end with a St. Pat's Feast and awards presentation from noon to 2 p.m. in the courtyard of the Chemistry and Computer Science Building.