The “Y”-more than just a letter on a mountain


Students gathered across campus  to honor more than 100 years of service in the BYU community, in celebrating “Y-days.” However, this celebration actually started off not as fun event for all students, but as a class rivalry among BYU’s juniors and seniors  in 1906.

One Spring day the junior students hiked up the side of the mountain and carved “07” into the side for all to see. Frustrated, the seniors then went up to the mountain and carved in “06” to lay claim on what they felt was theirs for their senior year at BYU. President George H. Brimhall became aware of the rivalry and decided that there would be one symbol, and one symbol only to appear on the mountainside; it would be a symbol to stand for unity within the BYU community for all time.

Brimhall originally hoped for the three letters BYU to grace the mountainside. However upon starting the task, students realized that it was much more of a daunting assignment than they had planned on.

To this day, the single Y lies upon Y Mountain as a reminder to all the valley that there is a truly unique university community just below. Y-day was then a tradition for students to hike the mountainside and whitewash the Y each year as well as participate in various other service activities. Today, the spirit of service of the Y are in tact with the annual Y-days tradition.

Each year Y-Serve, with the help of BYUSA and a variety of other programs, hosts a week long event with opportunities for students to serve.

“Service is what keeps us humble,” said Jessica Helms, 22, a health education major from Decatur, Alabama. “At a time in our lives when it’s all about who we are and what we want, it’s important to take the time to serve others.”

This past week, as a part of Y-days, students were able to donate hair to “Locks of Love,” play games and write notes to youth in the Juvenile Justice Center in Springville, participate in the first “Sweet Hour of Service” and visit a Service Fair providing students with ways to stay involved and service oriented for the upcoming year.

“It’s really easy to become involved,” said Tyson Bryan, 23, a fiance major from Las Vegas, Nevada. “I’m happy I took the time to serve others, it’s time well spent.”

There are needs to be met in the BYU community as well as in the world abroad. Service brings joy and happiness to others even in the small tasks of life.

“It’s the little things that make me happy,” said Nick Totten, 21, from Moorhead, Minnesota, “That’s why I stopped today to make a card for someone. I hope it finds them happy and that I was able to make a difference.”

For more information on volunteer opportunities this year, visit

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