SGA Bill Makes Hand Sign Official

Autumn Stoll

PHOTO | Olivia Orr

Tech’s Student Government Association has passed a bill introducing Tech’s new official hand sign. Autumn Stoll, junior social studies education major from Benton, pushed for the sign for three years to make this aspiration a reality.

To make the sign, place one hand vertically in front, and bring the other hand horizontally on top to make a “T” shape. Stoll first made this sign on a senior trip with her friends while she was under the impression that this was already Tech’s official sign.

“It all happened my senior year of high school,” Stoll said. “I was on a beach trip with my friends, and they all started doing their hand signs, and I automatically thought that this was the hand sign for Tech, so I did it. So, there is a picture of me four years ago doing it.”

Her friends went to universities that had official hand signs. Such as UCA, which involves making a bear claw with your hands, and U of A, which is pushing your nose up to resemble a pig. It wasn’t until after she came to Tech that she realized that the sign she made wasn’t Tech’s hand sign.

“I came here, and I’m a tour guide with the admissions office, and they were asking me for content ideas. I was like, ‘y’all should go up to Mount Nebo and have someone do the hand sign.’ They had no idea what I was talking about,” Stoll said. “Then I realized that we definitely need to get this started and going because I feel like it connects everyone and brings everyone together.”

After she decided to push for the hand sign, she went through a student organization she’s involved in, SGA.

“I got with the president and our vice president at Student Affairs, Dr. Nichols, and we made a bill to get it passed through SGA, and it passed,” Stoll said.

Even though her idea was approved and supported, she needed to figure out how everyone would respond to the hand sign.

“I was honestly really nervous because I had obviously thought that this was the Tech hand sign. When I realized it wasn’t, I was nervous about what everyone would think when I brought it into motion because it looks like a time-out sign,” Stoll said. “But, I realized that it would be great because it would be a way that future students, current students, and alumni students could connect with it. It was a little bit of a hard process, but it turned out really good.”

As for Alyson Caldwell, a nursing major from Paragould, she likes that Tech has an official hand sign and believes it helps school spirit.

“I think it’s really cool to have. Having school spirit is a main part of going to school because if you don’t have it, what’s the point? It’s not fun,” Caldwell said. “Going to events and stuff, that’s what I look forward to when going to a university.”

Beyond events and games, Caldwell can see herself using the sign through her on-campus job.

“I work for ResLife, so I’m sure we’ll be putting that out there too,” Caldwell said.

While other sign ideas were proposed during the process of getting the hand sign approved, Stoll remained loyal to her original idea.

“Since I had made this, I was going to stick through it,” Stoll said. “There were other ideas that were thrown out, but at the end of the day, we decided it looked better than the others.”

Now that the hand sign is official, Stoll encourages students to use the sign as often as possible.

“Whenever you’re committing to the school, people will take pictures doing the hand sign. Whenever you’re out and about, and someone asks where you’re from, you can say ‘Arkansas Tech’ and do it. Whenever you want to do it, you can do it,” Stoll said. “It’s a way for the school to get out there more and showcase it more.”

Stoll hopes that the hand sign will be a part of the Tech community for as long as the university stands, and Tech is already in the process of making that a reality.

“We got it approved for Time out for Tech, which is when all the upcoming seniors who are admitted here come Feb. 3, and we got it to be approved for a scholarship award,” Stoll said. “So, if anyone posts on their story or their Instagram and tags us, they’ll be entered for a chance to win, which will gain visibility for the sign and help to continue it, and it won’t just be students now who know it.”

Stoll believes that it’s essential for the hand sign to be a part of Tech because of the role it plays in bringing everyone together.

“I think it’s a way for everyone just to know that the school is all connected as one,” Stoll said. “I feel like some people think it’s silly that this is something that’s very school oriented, but it’s a way to connect us all in a long-lasting tradition.”