It can be easy to take for granted the school spirit and pride that now pervades campus, but it wasn’t always that way. In the late 1920s, school spirit was at a low. The Great Depression and lack of student leaders made for a campus without enthusiasm or pride for its traditions.
Tech Football Coach William Alexander recognized this void in leadership and took the issue to Professor Fred Wenn who agreed to help solve the issue. In 1930, what is currently known as the Reck Club was founded. Right away, the group began establishing traditions and spreading Tech pride by enforcing practices such as the “RAT Rules.”
While its goal remains the same, some of the events and traditions upheld by the club since its founding have changed.
The Reck Club is now responsible not only for establishing and maintaining tradition, but also hosting the Freshman Cake Race, the Mini 500 and, perhaps most importantly, the upkeep and display of the Reck, a 1930 Ford Model A Sport Coupe.
Since its reception in 1960, the Reck has been a symbol of the Institute and a way to inspire pride in the student body.
“Ramblin Reck Club was formed in 1930 as a way to spread joy on an otherwise pretty dull campus. We received the Reck in 1960 and she hasn’t missed a home football game since 1961,” says Reck Club President Zachary Freels, fifth-year AE.
As the president, Freels works hard to manage events and ensure that they are executed smoothly. Additionally, he is the representative of the club to the Institute and to Tech staff. His work, along with that of all of those in Reck Club, was evident in the recent homecoming activities and highlights the continued dedication of the Reck Club and its leadership to its mission.
Together, the Reck and its club form a duo that work to promote Tech spirit both internally to the campus, and externally to alumni, prospective students and the community.
“Externally, the club acts as a symbol for the Institute, the Reck is always present at important Tech functions because alumni love the Reck,” Freels said. “Internally, we handle all the traditions of Tech and any traditions related events.”
While some of the more major events sponsored by the club are now behind them, that doesn’t mean they get to take a break. Events, such as football games and Reck appearances, are key to maintaining the spirit of the student body especially as the semester winds down and finals begin to approach.
“Right now, I’m hoping for the club to finish the football season strong and to put on a Georgia game experience that’s bigger than ever with new events surrounding the date,” Freels said of his expectations for the club.
As much as the Reck Club is focused on preserving the past and promoting tradition at the present, the club must keep looking forward in order to ensure that spirit is preserved and the club is able to fulfill its mission. As such, Freels has a definitive vision for the club.
“In the future, I want the club to expand,” he said. “We had a vision this year of being the best spirit organization in the country so that’s what we’ll be working towards, and as always, we’re gonna keep the Reck in great shape.”
Amidst all of the excitement and administrative concerns that surround running such an important and complex organization, it is important to not lose sight of the core purpose of the club, and the reason behind events such as the Freshman Cake Race and the Mini 500.
“Reck club has and always will be the maintainers of the Reck, the traditions keepers of the school, and the organization in charge of spreading joy in campus,” Freels said. “I think it’s unique for an institute that’s so focused on moving forward into the future to be so passionate about preserving the past.”
These are the reasons for which the club was founded, and for which it works today.
It is in the everyday interactions that people have with the traditions of Tech that make a difference in the community, and it is this which the Reck Club hopes to accomplish.
“The Reck is important because it’s been a part of game-day and a part of campus for so long,” Freels said. “It’s a constant for Tech and students need that.”
Moreover, it’s the personal relationships that are made with Tech and its unique spirit and traditions that help foster pride and community at the Institute.
“I would hope that the club, if not just the Reck, adds a little fun to campus,” Freels said. “When things are stressful I know the Reck always puts a smile on my face.”
The Reck Club serves to preserve and promote Tech pride and tradition, but it is on everyone to embrace it.
Next time you see a stranger sporting the white and gold or hear the Reck’s horn as it drives down the road, don’t hesitate to say, “Go Jackets!” and help spread some Tech spirit. The Institute will be all the better for it.