Many of us who live in North Dakota would nominate February as the toughest month, as we are now growing tired of winter, despite only being about halfway through it. We survived “fools spring” which brought us a stretch of marvelous sunny weather, reminding us that we can have gorgeous days, even in the middle of winter. Like we usually do, despite the rough winds and bitter cold, we hang in there!

But what makes the cold and snowy days tolerable is the awesome things happening on our campus and the events we have to look forward to when we eventually make it out of winter.

We started the spring semester on a high note, with continuing enrollment growth. DSU’s headcount as of February 7th, our official census date, showed that 1,391 students made DSU their choice to pursue their higher education goals, an increase of 3.4% over the previous year.

The DSU theater program just completed four shows of Happily Ever Before, a play by Tracy Wells. In this production, the fairytale villains have had enough. For too long the Evil Queen, Wicked Stepmother, and Dark Fairy have been pushed into the shadows, while princesses like Snow White, Cinderella, and Briar Rose get their happily-ever-afters.  So, the scoundrels set out to change things. Held on the Stickney Auditorium stage, the play was engaging, showcasing the talent of DSU students and faculty.

We also recently held our Cowboys and Candlelight fundraiser to support the Dickinson State rodeo team. At the midpoint in the college rodeo season, our men are in second place in the Great Plains Region, ahead of schools like NDSU, Iowa State, Nebraska, and South Dakota State. Our women’s team is doing even better, as they are solidly in first place. When spring comes, the Blue Hawks will hit the road for another series of rodeos as they try to punch their tickets to the College National Final Rodeo this summer.

Another key fundraiser held on campus was the annual Crab Feed. This fundraiser saw over 290 attendees, with the proceeds benefiting the DSU and Dickinson High School softball programs. It is truly a remarkable event put on by local softball coaches and supporters, with all the crab you can eat!

In addition to the events on campus, our student-athletes have been on the road and at home for competitions. The DSU women’s track & field team won their fifth consecutive NSAA Women's Indoor Track & Field conference title with a dominant conference meet record of 296.5 points, while the men placed second. Kaitlyn McColly was named NSAA Most Valuable Field Performer, while teammate Wrenzi Wrzesinski was tabbed Most Valuable Athlete and Most Valuable Track Performer. Shayne Wittkopp also earned Coach of the Year for the fifth straight year on the women’s side.

Our basketball teams made noise this season. Both DSU basketball teams clinched home-court advantage in the Opening Round of the North Star Athletic Association Basketball Tournament. Better yet, they both won those games, with the women defeating Valley City State 68-50, while the men downed Dakota State 72-60, to earn a spot in the final four. Although the women lost to #1 seed Dakota State, the men downed Waldorf University 79-74, before falling to Mayville State in the NSAA championship game.

Dickinson State cheer is making its run to nationals again. The team has been on a win streak lately, having point-reduction-free performances, which are essentially perfect routines. The squad took home a second-place finish in the NAIA Regional Qualifiers with a final round score of 93.16. Thanks to their dominating season, the Blue Hawks earned an at-large bid to compete in the NAIA National Cheerleading Championships in Ypsilanti, Michigan on March 10-11.

Our campus has several events coming soon, including the Science Olympiad, the DSU Career Fair, concerts and festivals, baseball, softball, outdoor track and field, and golf tournaments. The Albers Humanities Festival will take place April 18-20. It will feature panels on 1980s pop culture, politics, and society, as well as a music trivia contest.

Soon, we will be celebrating the opening of our new Sanford Sports Complex, with the wonderful Bravera Bank Field hosting our conference softball tournament this spring. We hope that the community joins us for what is sure to be a series of competitive games by very talented student-athletes.

We know that Dickinson State University would not be successful without our community and supporters. Our small community truly provides big opportunities for our students.

Lastly, good luck to all Blue Hawks on their midterms this week!

Hawks are up!