It’s been a helluva month for the M on Mount Zion. On October 17th at Mine’s annual Homecoming Bonfire, President Johnson led students in the M lighting ceremony. To the smell of chocolate and the warmth of the flames, students counted down from nine. “Three, two, one, Orediggers!” At the end of the countdown the former M flickered to life, piece by piece, to reveal it had transformed into… Wait, what exactly was it? Mines students couldn’t agree. Theories as to what the M had become ranged from the hands of a clock, to a lawn mower, to a plain old L. Rumors even circulated of foul play by Fort Lewis, our opponents in the Homecoming football game.
Rather, Blue Key Honor Society M-Chair senior Claire Munsell explained to me, none of these speculations were true. Many students at Mines are accustomed to the M morphing into a special design annually for Homecoming Weekend and this year was no different. Claire and her team attempted to create the Big Dipper in lights but miscalculated the proportioning necessary to see the constellation from the ground.
Creating any sort of temporary non-M formation on the mountain is not easy. Long electrical cables, sort of like industrial Christmas lights, that are so heavy they take two people to carry are walked up to the site from Lookout Mountain Road by volunteers from Blue Key. Then using the existing M support structure and stakes they string the lights into their design.
When it is time the lights are typically lit from a switch in the MAC office in the Student Center. This year however due to the malfunctioning computer program from 2003 which controls the M, Claire was up on the mountain and when she heard “Orediggers!” she ran around turning on the lights. Despite the Big Dipper not turning out as planned Claire does consider her attempt a success. She says most people she has talked to have become aware that it was meant to be the Big Dipper and she says it has been a fun topic of conversation.
This is not the first high profile snafu involving the M. Of course in 1919 students from rival school Denver University attempted to paint the M red and last July the M was struck by lightning putting it out of commission for several days. This past week Blue Key implemented their topsy turvy Halloween design, a W. Some students have suggested the M went from giving L’s to taking a W or that its meaning changed from ‘Mini’ to ‘Wumbo’. According to Claire however, the W was inspired by the Upsidedown in the Netflix horror mystery series, Stranger Things. Regardless of how it is changed and what it endures, the M will remain a symbol of this university, the Colorado School of Wines.