March to the Brazos
March to the Brazos is the largest and most successful student-led fundraiser for the March of Dimes in the United States, and raised over $1.5 million between 1977 and 2007. The annual event is organised and comprised completely of members of the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M University. In the spring semester, the cadets conduct a 18 miles (30 km) round-trip road march starting from their dorms in the Quadrangle, through Main Campus and West Campus to Texas A&M's Animal Science Teaching, Research & Extension Complex (ASTREC) near the east bank of the Brazos River. After the first leg of the march, cadets participate in various competitions (tug-of-war, relay races, etc.), eat lunch, and unofficially transfer ranks for the following school year. The day concludes with the march back under the leadership of the next Class, while the Class of the current year will ride buses back to campus.
On April 1, 1908 the cadets of Texas A&M College -- who had been on strike in protest of Henry Hill Harrington, president of the college -- did not attend classes on that day as it was traditionally treated as a holiday by the students. This action, along with other April Fool’s Day pranks, was becoming a little too regular occurrence for the Commandant. The next year the Commandant issued General Order No. 27 and began what became known as the “Hike to the Brazos” and eventually the “March to the Brazos.” The hike originated in 1909 and was held March 31 through April 1 to keep the cadets from playing April Fool’s jokes on each other and their instructors. This tradition was held annually until 1912 at which point it was discontinued.
March to the Brazos was revived in 1977 when cadet leadership saw the natural tie between March to the Brazos and the March of Dimes. This special partnership was seen as a way to build Corps spirit and also benefit a worthwhile charity. From 1977 through 2003, the event raised a total of $1.3 million, with $130,000 raised in 2003 alone. March to the Brazos is the largest and most successful student-led fundraiser for the March of Dimes in the United States.
Each school year the Corps raises money through door-to-door collections (residents and businesses), Fill-the-Boot (senior cadet boot) collections at local businesses, and donations from friends and family members (locally and in their hometowns). Additional efforts include doing a mail out to cadet referrals, involving former students, and engaging corporate sponsors. During the 28 years from 1977 to 2004, the Corps has raised over $1.5 million for the March of Dimes, whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects and infant mortality. In 2005, cadets raised just over $142,041.37.
- "1,700 Cadets Will "March To The Brazos" Saturday". AggieDaily. 2005-04-28. Retrieved 2006-12-23.[permanent dead link]
- "March to the Brazos" (PDF). March of Dimes. 2004-09-17. Retrieved 2006-12-23.
- Martell, Marilyn (June 29, 2003). "Dollars Roll in for March of Dimes". The Bryan-College Station Eagle. Archived from the original (– Scholar search) on February 11, 2005. Retrieved 2007-06-30.
- "March to the Brazos". Class of 1972, Squadron 11. Archived from the original on 2007-05-10. Retrieved 2006-12-23.