GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – An Orediggers tradition is continuing in Golden. On Friday incoming students at Colorado School of Mines climbed Mount Zion just west of campus and placed new whitewashed rocks in the signature “M” that sits on the mountainside.

(credit: Colorado School of Mines)

Here’s how it works:

– The students each bring with them to school a 10-pound rock from their hometown.

– Members of Blue Key Honor Society spray-paint the hard hats of new students.

(credit: Colorado School of Mines)

– The students head over to the mountainside and they climb up Lookout Mountain Road and then up Mount Zion to where the “M” sits. The Mines fight song is rehearsed throughout, loudly.

– The new Orediggers cover the rocks with watered down white paint and place it in the “M” area.

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

(file photo credit: CBS)

– After a group photo, students are bussed back to campus for a barbecue.

– When seniors graduate, they are allowed to retrieve their rocks.

(credit: Colorado School of Mines)

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 incoming class includes 1,380 new freshmen and transfer students. The Class of 2022 includes 31 percent women and 6 percent international students. The school says it received 13,281 applications for this school year.

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