The pennies placed on the statue of Sul Ross currently benefit the 12th Can, an on-campus food pantry.
When midterms and finals roll around, stacks of pennies, assorted bills and even gift cards can be found at the feet of Lawrence Sullivan “Sul” Ross, the former president of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (1891-98) who stands in Academic Plaza as the oldest statue on campus.
Stemming from Sully’s famous response of “a penny for your thoughts” when students asked how they could repay him for his help on homework, the tradition of placing pennies at his feet for good luck on exams now gives current students an avenue to create a culture of philanthropy on campus.
Under the Sul Ross Penny Act established in 2011, student organizations can apply to receive funds from the pennies through the Student Government Association. The
, a student-run, on-campus food pantry, has collected the pennies since 2017 to purchase food for Aggie students, faculty and staff in need of assistance. 12th Can
“Our organization operates solely based on donations, so the pennies are a huge help,” said Megan Ford ’19, director of 12th Can. “It’s wonderful that such a long-standing Texas A&M tradition is being used today for charitable purposes to support Aggies in need.”