TCM nixes Peedoggies' tradition
JESUS MARTINEZ | March 10, 2009
The College of Mines Day, when engineers commemorate their heritage on campus, is one of the university's oldest traditions. After decades of ridicule, students will leave the term "peedoggies" behind as it is defined as a form of hazing.
Some of the chairs of the Engineering Student Leadership Council left out of the agenda one of the most notable traditions of calling non-engineering students peedogies, which comes from the word pedagogy, the art or science of teaching.
"It is disrespectful to students and unfair for people to yell 'peedoggy' at you," said Jorge Vargas, senior mechanical engineering and ESLC finance chair. "Some people don't even know what that means, and they might get mad or confused."
Traditionally, engineers would shout out the term and make fun of everyone they don't consider a doer like them. Engineering students feel proud of UTEP roots in mining and metallurgy.
Peedoggies aside, the day is all about engineers celebrating their heritage and pride.
"It is not about messing with other colleges," senior industrial engineer and ESLC internal operation chair Abril Vazquez said. "It is just about showing pride, having fun and showing our history."
Every year Barthy Byrd, communication professor, and her communication law class get front row seats to the wild antics that are brought about every TCM day. Her class overlooks the computer science building where engineers are seen hollering, yelling, hopping on one foot and doing other silly activities.
"I don't care if it disrupts my class," Byrd said. "We all go to the window to watch them. It is tradition and fun, and they are pretty loud."
Byrd describes the sight as an interesting one, and despite being labeled and mocked as a peedoggy, she and her class ironically mock the engineers as they watch them through the windows.
"They are supposed to make fun of themselves and the rest of us, but we make fun of them," Byrd said. "We make fun of those crazy engineers who have lost their logical minds."
Once a year, the engineering departments and students get together and express their loyalty and pride of being an engineer by having the TCM day. Beginning in the early 1920s, when the Texas College of Mines and Metallurgy existed, students staged a day of games and activities in order to initiate new engineers into the Order of St. Patrick, or as the engineers call, "St. Pat."
The campus became a branch of the University of Texas in 1919, and the name was changed to the College of Mines and Metallurgy. Years later, the El Paso Junior College merged with the College of Mines, which remarkably increased enrollment and created a rivalry between engineers and liberal arts students, and the term peedoggy was born.
Vargas recalls his first TCM day experience two years ago.
"In the beginning, I didn't know why I was doing it; I thought I was just following my friends," he said. "During the day, I gained pride for my college."
As the week leading up to TCM day progresses, students may expect promotions of the upcoming day.
"We plan on giving out green cupcakes, chocolate, muffins and Jell-O to have more people ask, 'Why green?'," Vazquez said.
This year's TCM day plans to be a successful one with the traditional painting of the "M" on the Franklin Mountains, cleaning the arroyo under the engineering building and other activities. Engineers are asked to bring a toothbrush, one dollar, a can of food to donate to the Rescue Mission of El Paso, and a white shirt and old clothes. Get ready UTEP because The Texas College of Mines and Metallurgy reemerges March 13.