What’s the deal with that? CSU need-to-know guide

Laura Studley

Imagine this: it is Aug. 26, and the semester has officially started. Walking onto campus from your dorm, you see many things you aren’t used to. Questions like “What is that tree stump doing in the middle of The Plaza?” “What’s the deal with the giant A on that hill over there?” or “Why are these squirrels so confrontational?” might cross your mind. 

It’s okay, we were all freshmen with questions once. 


The Stump

The large tree stump was found by Collegian employees John Hyde and Shelton Stanfill in 1964. Obtained from a lumber yard, the original Stump was purchased for $4.50, according to a 2016 Collegian article. There have been many iterations of the Stump, with the most recent replacement in 2016. It has become a symbol for free speech, allowing students a platform on which to express their ideas and philosophies. A placard on the Stump reads:

“‘What is objectionable, what is dangerous is not that they are extreme but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause but what they say about their opponents.’ Robert F. Kennedy, Associated Students of Colorado State University, 75th Anniversary”

The “A” 

Located on the foothills to the west of town, the “A” stands for the “Aggies,” a previous mascot for the University when Colorado State University was known as Colorado A&M. The “A” is symbolic of the land grant principles CSU was founded on, according to the CSU land grant mission. It became a tradition for volunteers to repaint the letter every year so that it can be seen from campus.


CSU students have an interest in squirrels. There is a running rumor that former President Tony Frank was just 20-30 squirrels in a suit, as referenced by a website created under the name “Tony’s Squirrels.” College squirrels are not like average squirrels; they are more confrontational and bold. They will follow you around campus and invade your personal space. You are probably more afraid of the squirrels than they are of you. 

Game day parking

Every time the Rams play at home, students are required to move their cars for the game. There are specific places approved for student parking by the University when home games happen at the Canvas Stadium. These places include the Westfall Hall lot, the tennis court lots off Research Boulevard and the parking garage on the corner of College Avenue and Pitkin Street. Students are able to return to their designated dorm parking lots beginning four hours following the game. If students don’t re-park their vehicles, they will be towed.

Old Main Bell

The Old Main Bell was placed in the tower of Old Main, the first significant building on campus, in 1910. In 1919, it was stolen from the tower by a group of at least four men. According to SOURCE, out of fear of getting caught and the confusion of what to do with the giant bell, the men buried it on a nearby farm. The bell remained underground for the next 50 years. It was returned to CSU, taking its place in the multipurpose Canvas Stadium.

CAM the Ram

CAM the Ram has been CSU’s mascot since 1954. CAM is an acronym of the University’s former name, Colorado A&M. It was by happenstance that it conveniently rhymes with ram, according to CSU admissions. The real ram is cared for by a group of student volunteers called the Ram Handlers. They are responsible for CAM’s daily care and training. 

Groups on campus

There are times when students walk through The Plaza and encounter groups that will attempt to talk to you about certain religions, social issues, fraternities and sororities, clubs, ASCSU initiatives, etc. You are not obligated to stop unless you want to. You can kindly deny their pamphlets and free food.

Laura Studley can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @laurastudley_.