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What is the R.A.T. Program?
posted June 11, 2015
Hey everyone! It's Elijah bringing you the second blog of the summer. Things are really starting to get going around here and we are so excited for Preseason Camp! The AUMB has had many traditions over the years, but one has stuck throughout much of its history: the R.A.T. Program. This long-standing tradition has garnered some of the greatest relationships and friendships Auburn has ever seen. R.A.T., or Rookie Auburn Tiger, is the name given to all new members of the AUMB. It is not a derogatory name as we have a ZERO TOLERANCE for any type of hazing in this great organization, rather it is a term of endearment.
In the past, every freshman on campus was named a R.A.T., but the tradition died out after World War II. Each R.A.T. was given an orange and blue ball cap with a blue “A” embroidered onto the front and was given instructions to write the score of every football game during their freshman year and get “x” amount of signatures from the VETs in the band until the ‘80s. R.A.Ts wore these to every practice and band function until “the Auburn Tigers defeated those pachyderms known as the Crimson Tide.” Today we do not have any hats (you get a cool T-Shirt though, which you can wear whenever you’d like) but one still retains the R.A.T. nickname until we beat Alabama in football. Hopefully we will not have any R.A.Ts in the band at the end of the season but as it stands now we have two R.A.T. classes.
At the beginning of Preseason Camp every new member will be assigned to a group; this is now your group for the rest of Preseason Camp and consists of 10-15 other new members led by two Veteran members. This group will be your team to compete in R.A.T. Drills in the morning and R.A.T. Activities at night. R.A.T. Drills are mostly icebreaker/get-to-know-you games; the point really is to get to know as many people as possible and to learn the different cheers of the school. The R.A.T. Activities at night include different social activities. Some are tied to your group, like the Campus wide scavenger hunt during which we learn to sing the Alma Mater, or are tied to your section like section dinner night, or are just a lot of fun like BBQ Tailgate night, or Bowling night. Yes, we do indeed rent the entire bowling alley for the entire band. By the way, all of these activities are completely optional but it doesn't hurt to meet new people and have a lot of fun while you do it. Two of my now closest friends were my group leaders freshman year. It really is worth it to get involved!
Every R.A.T. is also given a parent; males will get a R.A.T. Mom, and females a R.A.T. Dad. It’s important to note that this is not a dating service! We are just providing another Veteran member in the band who is not necessarily in your section but can be a mentor to you throughout the year. Just like my Group Leaders I am really close to my R.A.T. Mom, the lovely Sarah Collins, and I was lucky enough during adoptions to have a twin R.A.T. Son, who is now one of my best friends.
I guess that about wraps it up for the R.A.T. Program. it really is a great way to get to know people, whether it be a fellow group member, your group leaders, or a R.A.T. Parent or twin! Please let any of the four of us know if you have any questions. Email us, find us on social media, or send an owl and/or a carrier pigeon. We want to hear from you!
We’ll see you all soon, but for now