Paint the ‘M’ Moved To 49ers Friday

SOCORRO, N.M. September 14, 2011 – New Mexico Tech is planning an intensive work day to refurbish and paint the ‘M’ atop Socorro Peak during 49ers this year. Instead of the traditional Sunday morning event, Paint the ‘M’ will be on Friday this year, October 21.

The registration deadline is noon Thursday, Oct. 20. To register, email paintm@nmt.edu.

Students make the final ascent to the 'M' during the 2010 49ers.

Techies first surveyed the peak and laid out the ‘M’ in 1911. For this year’s centennial celebration, Dr. Van Romero is mobilizing the troops to give the iconic letter a facelift.

Students who make the climb will get some freebies – a commemorative T-shirt, sunglasses and a hat. All participants will get a hamburger lunch at the staging area just below the ‘M.’

“This is an important milestone,” said Romero, the Vice President of Research and a Tech graduate. “We’re pulling out all the stops this year to make the Paint the ‘M’ event as memorable as possible.”

Romero hopes that moving the event to Friday will encourage more students to participate. “Many students are worn out by Sunday morning. I’m hoping we can catch Techies before they spend all weekend celebrating. This can be the beginning of a great weekend,” he said.

Romero has enlisted the assistance of a surveying class in the mineral engineering department to re-mark the edges of the letter. Chemical engineering faculty and EMRTC staff are investigating new materials and methods of painting, expecting to make the ‘M’ stay whiter throughout the year. Students will be encouraged to help carry materials up the mountain, mix the paint and then paint the ‘M.’

Participation in the annual event had dwindled over the previous decade – until last year, when more than 150 students made the hike up the mountain. This year, Romero hopes to have more than 200 students pitching in to help. He has also invited local residents to participate by hiking the mountain and helping whitewash the ‘M.’

“Painting the ‘M’ is much like going to school at Tech – it’s difficult, but worth the effort,” Romero said. “Every student should experience this at least once during their career here. It’s a great tradition and I hope we get a great turnout this year.”

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech