As of late, South Dakota State University has been in the spotlight. First, ESPN’s “College GameDay” came to campus. Now, SDSU will host the South Dakota High School Activities Association football championships at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium. Seven games will be played Thursday and Friday.
Students in SDSU’s sport and recreation management program are working the championships and will experience different gameday operations, whether it’s selling or taking tickets or helping people find places to park.
Of the 120 undergraduate students enrolled in the program, more than 100 are volunteering this week. All 20 graduate students are also working.
“The ones who aren’t, are traveling for SDSU athletics,” said Bryan Romsa, assistant professor of spot and recreation management. He is proud of the “culture of student leadership” at the university.
“I would challenge any other university to be this open and willing to give students those opportunities,” Romsa said.
These students are working events from the high school football championships, to big name events like “College GameDay,” The Summit League Championships, the Sanford International PGA Senior Tournament and more. Sport and recreation management students graduate with resumes that impress employers across the country and land jobs with intercollegiate athletic departments and professional franchises.
“It’s so amazing to see how Brookings embraces the opportunities brought to it by the university,” said Logan Haak, a senior from Yankton. He earned a scholarship from the South Dakota Parks and Recreation Association in October.
Haak is interested in working in the public and city recreation field. He noted that these experiences are great resume builders and a way to learn outside of the classroom.
“All experience is good experience,” Haak said.
“For some of these people, it’s their first time at the Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium, or Brookings as a whole. So, just offering a smile and being as friendly and as helpful as you can will hopefully get them to come back to our town and our SDSU campus and hopefully another game,” said Brianna Vig, a sport and recreation management graduate student from Brookings.
Adam Anderson, who is from Orlando and on the SDSU football team, hopes to become an athletic director. He is thankful for the versatility that opportunities such as “College GameDay” and the high school football championships bring him.
Kirsten Weifenbach, who is from Winona, Minnesota, is interested in working in college athletics. She said that the high school football players will have a great opportunity as well.
By Hope Osborn, a first-year student from Milbank. She is a psychology major and theater minor.
“We’re here to provide an experience they won’t forget.”