May 16, 2023

With the largest student population in the United States, it’s no surprise that Texas A&M University is home to over 1,000 student organizations. These groups cover a broad range of categories, including personal interests and hobbies, community service, student government and Greek life. Though the number continues to grow, the exact organizations offered have changed drastically through the years as they reflect Aggies’ evolving interests. Take a look back at some of the unique groups once found on campus.

The Stephen F. Austin Literary Society and The Calliopean Literary Society

Once the largest student organization on campus, the Stephen F. Austin Literary Society was founded in 1876 to provide literary training for speeches and debate tactics. A section of the organization later split off and became the Calliopean Literary Society. Though friendly rivals in the annual commencement debate, both literary societies worked together to create the first newspapers produced by Texas A&M: The Collegian and The College Journal, predecessors to The Battalion. In 1906, the Student Association took the reins of The Battalion, now the longest-running student newspaper at Texas A&M.

The Red Headed Club and the Beaux Legged Fraternity of Swine Catchers

In Texas A&M’s early days, plenty of organizations were founded just for fun. The Red Headed Club of 1895 had one requirement for membership: red hair. The redder a member’s hair, the higher his status. Active in the 1910s, the Beaux Legged Fraternity of Swine Catchers only required members to be “beaux-legged,” a common condition where one’s legs curve outward at the knees. Their motto was “Being the crookedest men at A&M,” and their favorite song was “Wish My Limbs Were Straight.” Both clubs left their legacy of Aggie fun for modern student organizations to continue. 

Great Issues Committee

Founded in 1950, the Great Issues Committee hosted speakers of national or international repute to discuss pertinent issues of the time at Texas A&M. Lectures, programs and student development projects centered around current events. During its active years, the student-run organization hosted several important political figures, including Dudley Fishburn, a former member of the British Parliament. By providing Texas A&M students with various perspectives on issues, the organization strove to live out its motto: “In a democracy, agreement is not essential—participation is.”

Texas A&M Flying Kadets

In the late 1950s, several aviation and flying enthusiasts looked to the sky to create the Flying Kadets. The organization taught flying and safety skills while also offering members reduced rates on aircraft rentals. Every year, the organization participated in a national air meet sponsored by the National Intercollegiate Flying Association, which the Kadets hosted at Easterwood Airport in 1961. 

MSC After Hours

For students and faculty who wanted to learn a new skill like bartending or dancing the jitterbug, MSC After Hours was the place to be. Founded in the 1960s under the name Free University, the student-run group offered various non-credit courses and handled all the necessary public relations and administrative duties to bring the classes to students. The organization’s motto was, “Anyone can teach, anyone can learn.” 

MSC Basement Committee

The MSC Basement Committee of the late 1970s gave the university and local community a chance to have fun and rock out together. The committee hosted performances featuring musicians, stand-up comedians and local talents at little or no cost. In addition, the organization offered outdoor concerts and noon hour performances and operated the Memorial Student Center’s student coffeehouse.

Aggie Allemanders

Founded in the late 1970s, the Aggie Allemanders held square dances for Texas A&M faculty, students and Bryan-College Station community members of all do-si-do dancing levels. “The club was a huge part of my life during my time at Texas A&M,” said Katherine Crawford Ross ’87, who served as treasurer and president of the Aggie Allemanders. “I even met my husband in the club. Our group performed at Fish Camp annually, attended state square dance festivals and even the National Square Dance Convention one year when it was in Houston.” Each semester, the organization held weekly club dances, two special square dances and a class graduation dance in the Pavilion with a professional caller.

Madrigal Dinners

The MSC Madrigal Dinner Committee of the mid- to late-1980s provided a magical cultural opportunity through its annual Christmas Renaissance night. The event featured dinner and performances from jesters, jugglers and madrigal singers.

“Along with a couple other students from a ragtag juggling club, we were the court jesters, also known as jugglers, for three or four years,” said Daniel Orozco ’83, a performer at the Madrigal Dinners. “We had a grand time with all the cast members and support teams during long rehearsals and the evening performances.”  

One Wheelers

One Wheelers aimed to show all Aggies how to put their pedal to the metal, or rather their wheel to the asphalt. The group promoted and developed unicycling skills in their members and even taught interested students how to ride them in the late 1980s. The group rode in parades and participated in events to raise money for local charities. 

Aggie Vision

From the late 1980s to the early 1990s, students explored new mediums to express their creativity. In Aggie Vision, students created a yearbook in the form of a one-hour video cassette that captured the sights, sounds and spirit of Texas A&M’s student life, Aggie traditions and campus activities. At the end of the year, students could purchase the cassette to remember days gone by. 

You can help Texas A&M continue to impact students through the more than 1,000 unique student organizations with a gift to the Aggie Experience Fund. The fund provides students with up to $250 or 50% of the cost to participate in recognized student organizations or programs, allowing them to join the groups they’re passionate about without worrying about extra fees. Giving allows students in organizations today to experience the fun and excitement of the student orgs of old. Give online today through the link below or contact Reagan Chessher ’96 to learn more about supporting a specific student organization.