SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — High School football fans are gearing up for the championships next week. College students are also getting in on the action.
This year, the South Dakota High School Activities Association moved the state High School Football Championships at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium at South Dakota State University in Brookings.
This is a big opportunity for students in SDSU’s sport and recreation management program to prepare for their next step.
Everyone will pay attention to the teams on the gridiron, but there’s another team behind the scenes.
“I’m just being wherever they need me and wherever I can be well-suited in order to make the operation go as smoothly as it can,” Logan Haak, an SDSU sport and recreation management student, said.
About 140 sport and rec students, including Haak, are volunteering to work the two-day championships. They’ll be making sure everything runs smoothly for fans.
“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,” Brianna Vig, a sport and recreation management graduate student, said.
That’s not all. This also means hands-on experience that will help these students when they are looking for careers in athletics.
“Hopefully it helps me stand out and having the experience in collegiate athletics, especially when I graduate, it shows people I have an understanding of how a university operates behind the scenes,” Kirsten Weifenbach, a sport and recreation management student, said.
This large volunteer turnout, nearly all students in the program, isn’t an accident. It’s the result of academics working closely with athletics, to make sure students are well-rounded professionals.
“It’s a teamwork effort. I can’t let my classmates down or other people volunteering for this event. A lot of stuff in high school, even playing sports when I was younger, has taught me a lot,” Adam Anderson, a sport and recreation management student, said.
While some have their sights set on a championship win, these young men and women say beefed up resumes are their trophies.
“SDSU and the faculty have really prepared me for the work experience inside the classroom but also outside the classroom, because I have the education but I also have the experience to back up the education as well,” Haak said.