Freshmen Maren Archibald and Grayson Crowther stepped onto the A in front of Old Main on Friday night for their first True Aggie Night, but instead of kissing under the full moon, they exchanged a pair of Hershey’s Kisses.
They stepped down from the A, grabbed a bag of chapstick, stickers and True Aggie cards and rejoined their group of friends.
“I wish it was a real True Aggie Night, but I appreciate that the school is trying their best,” Archibald said.
Crowther said he was “upset it was only chocolate.”
In a normal year, students line up to kiss each other on the A pedestal to become True Aggies in Utah State University’s longest tradition. Usually put on monthly by the Student Alumni Association, Friday’s event was the first True Aggie Night to happen in the 2020-2021 school year. It was also the first True Aggie Night ever where students exchanged chocolates instead of kisses.
True Aggie Night director Annie Ritchie said that her goal was to keep the event as similar to a normal True Aggie Night as possible without spreading germs.
“You still get the idea of coming up on the podium, exchanging kisses and then getting your True Aggie Night cards and chapstick and stuff like that,” Ritchie said. “We’re trying to make sure that people aren’t spreading the virus, but we still want it to look the same because it’s the longest tradition at Utah State.”
Ritchie described this year as “frustrating” because she kept having her ideas for a COVID-friendly True Aggie Night shut down by a risk management team. She said that transforming the traditional True Aggie Night into a pandemic-safe event has pushed her out of her comfort zone.
“It’s done the same way pretty much every single year, and so I’ve had to kind of push outside that box and think of new ways to do it which has kind of been really fun because it’s not just, like, all planned out for me now,” Ritchie said. “It’s like my own True Aggie Night event.”
Ritchie said the Student Alumni Association is aiming to put on at least one more True Aggie Night before the end of the semester.
Blake Barber, the student giving executive for the SAA, expressed concerns at the beginning of the event that students might break COVID policies. Throughout the night, SAA volunteers reminded students to put their masks on and socially distance, and though a couple of students pulled down their masks to sneak a kiss on the A, the majority of students complied with the rules.
“I definitely think that as far as SAA goes, we’ve done as much as we can,” Barber said. “A lot of the students have their own choice and free will with what university policies they want to follow, but I think overall most students have been very respectful of all the rules that we’ve put in place, and I think it’s been a successful night.”