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Spirit is published three times per year by the Texas A&M Foundation, which manages major gifts and endowments for the benefit of academic programs, scholarships and student activities at Texas A&M University.

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Also In This Issue

On Campus

Aggies Construct Monuments in England

During one of the most unique semester-long study abroad experiences offered at Texas A&M, construction science students build scaled-down versions of bridges, buildings, dams and civil engineering projects from around the world at the Constructionarium, a 15-acre, hands-on site in Northeast England.

Texas A&M students are the only U.S. students who build structures at the site. During a recent excursion, students served as project managers, safety officers, and accounting and scheduling heads to build scaled-down replicas of monuments such as The Gherkin, a distinctive London skyscraper, and the Millau Viaduct, the world’s tallest bridge.

Students also take rigorous classes in London and gain a firsthand view of British construction practices from visits to numerous job sites and builders’ offices; field trips to iconic British cultural sites; and internships with leading construction firms. Participants also receive an overview of industry ethics and are introduced to basic legal topics, project decision-making and risk analysis, and how to adapt to job sites in international environments.

Alamo Cannons Restored

Researchers at the Texas A&M University Conservation Research Lab, located on the RELLIS Education and Research Campus in Bryan, unearthed surprising secrets about two cannons from the Texas Revolution’s 1836 Battle of the Alamo. The two cannons, the Rio Grande Cannon and the Spanish Cannon, underwent a four-month conservation process to remove oxidation and corrosion.

While restoring the cannons, Research Associate Jim Jobling '93 and his team found an unfired cannonball inside the Spanish Cannon and discovered that the gun was likely more than 100 years old when it was used during the Alamo battle. After investigating the “B” cast on the side of the Rio Grande cannon, researchers determined it was produced at the Bersham Foundry in Wrexham, Wales, in the late 1700s.

“It’s amazing that after 180 years, we’re still learning new things about the Alamo’s history and the 1836 siege and battle,” said Jobling. “We were thrilled to be part of this special effort to preserve the cannons for future generations of Texans.”

After an official unveiling on March 2, the cannons are now on permanent display at the Alamo for visitors and Texas enthusiasts to enjoy. Over the next few months, Texas A&M researchers will clean and conserve a total of nine Alamo cannons.

Rooted in Tradition

Aggie Replant—recognized as an official Aggie tradition since 1991—is a student-run organization that coordinates tree planting events and environmental service activities. The group annually organizes Replant Day, the largest one-day, student-led, environmental service project in the nation, during which students plant trees throughout the Bryan-College Station community.

“We plant at local parks, schools, nonprofits, cemeteries and private home sites,” said Hunter Williams ’19, the organization’s director. “Last year we had approximately 400 volunteers, and we always plant between 200 and 500 trees.” The group fundraises year-round so that trees can be provided at no cost.

In addition to its local work, Aggie Replant has a history of partnering with the Texas A&M Forest Service. From 2013 to 2017, the organization helped with the reforestation efforts of Bastrop State Park following the devastating 2011 wildfire that destroyed most of its tree life. Over five years, student volunteers planted a total of 45,000 pine seedlings.

In February 2018, students also helped restore flood-damaged areas of the Blanco River in San Marcos by planting more than 1,500 tree seedlings along its banks. To lower purchasing costs, the group is now working to establish a sustainable tree farm to grow its own trees.

Hacking a Better Tomorrow

The fourth annual TAMUhack event on Texas A&M’s campus brought more than 500 students, 60 mentors and 50 volunteers from across the country together for a free event to see who could create the most innovative projects using technology.

For 24 hours straight, teams created real-world hardware and software solutions and developed applications. One of the most novel ideas was an application that utilizes social media data to benefit first-responders. Judges from companies such as American Airlines and Microsoft awarded the top seven teams based on technical difficulty, design and problem addressed.

The event’s balanced participation of new and experienced hackers fosters collaboration. “The transition between college and industry is steep for some students,” said Himank Yadav ’18, TAMUhack director and computer science major. “Our goal is to help bridge that gap by giving students an opportunity to explore innovative ideas and work on interesting projects outside of class.”

TAMUhack also hosts technical workshops and events throughout the year to teach Texas A&M students new engineering tools and technologies.

  • First Place in Eco-Friendly Efforts

    Texas A&M University received a gold ranking for sustainability efforts in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability’s 2017 Higher Education Sustainable Campus Index. The university earned a perfect 100 percent in the research category, defined by schools that “help the world understand sustainability challenges and develop new sustainable technologies, strategies and approaches.”
  • Free Falling Fast

    College of Architecture graduate and U.S. Marine Kyle Lobpries ’06 broke the North American record for speed skydiving, an extreme sport in which people free fall headfirst toward the earth while minimizing drag to reach the ground as fast as possible. He jumped from 13,500 feet and reached 293 mph!
  • A Viral Act of Kindness

    Mays Business School professor Henry Musoma ’00 has generated significant media attention in the last few months as one of many faculty members who go above and beyond. He allowed a student mom to bring her young son to class—a gesture that earned the pair a spot on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”—and collectively raised money for a student who couldn’t afford a textbook. CBS This Morning aired a feature on Musoma’s small acts of kindness in February.
Contact:

Dunae Reader '15

Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications/Spirit Editor