Mines freshmen prepare to climb the mountain

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Mines freshmen prepare to climb the mountain

GOLDEN, Colo., Aug. 15, 2008 — Colorado School of Mines freshmen will once again kick off the school year with the traditional whitewash of the mountainside monument on Mt. Zion in Golden Aug. 18.

Classes begin Tuesday, Aug. 19 and Mines anticipates approximately 916 new and transfer students for fall 2008.

Each year, incoming freshmen carry a 10-pound boulder up Mt. Zion (just north of Lookout Mountain) and place it on the M before applying a fresh coat of whitewash. Students will leave the Mines intramural fields at around 7:45 a.m., and the whitewashing usually occurs between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Members of Mines' chapter of Blue Key International Honor Society, a national leadership and service group that maintains the M, plan to swap out the monument's 1,653 incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs) within the next few weeks. The energy-efficient new LEDs – which students purchased through donations, fundraisers and student fees – will make the M more visible to those outside Golden.

Some facts about the M:

  • The monument was constructed in 1908 and is the largest electronically lit school emblem in the world measuring 104 feet by 107 feet and boasting more than 500 15-watt light bulbs.
  • The computer-automated and remote-controlled system for the M incorporates 37 different animations allowing students to get creative with colors and shapes for holidays and school events.
  • Never unlit for more than 24 hours, the M is maintained by Blue Key members who have long battled the elements to keep the record.

To reach the M, take 6th Avenue west from Denver to 19th Street in Golden. Turn left at the light and follow the road up Lookout Mountain. Although the road will be closed to the public, media representatives will be permitted to drive to the M.


Contact: Karen Gilbert, 303-273-3541


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