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Colorado School Of Mines Freshmen Whitewash The ‘M’

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The "M" monument for the Colorado School of Mines is seen Monday before the whitewashing. (credit: CBS)

The “M” monument for the Colorado School of Mines is seen Monday before the whitewashing. (credit: CBS)

GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) - The incoming class at the Colorado School of Mines trekked up Mount Zion on Monday for the annual white-washing of the mountainside “M” monument.

Each fall, freshmen carry 10-pound rocks up the mountain to refresh the “M” and then participate in a whitewashing that covers the rocks — and the students. When seniors graduate, they can retrieve their rocks.

The monument was created, according to the school, in 1908 when roughly 250 students and 20 faculty members packed supplies aboard burros for a haul up the mountain.

In 1931, members of Mines’ Blue Key International Honor Society chapter first lit the “M” with light bulbs and a generator. In 1948, the lighting became automated. Updates occurred in 1989 (wiring and conduit upgrades), 2003 (a wireless antenna was installed) and 2008 (LEDs replaced 1,653 incandescent bulbs).

This year’s class is composed of approximately 1,000 freshman and 160 transfers, making it the school’s largest incoming class.

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