Dixie State University’s infrastructure and academics have advanced over time, but its aura keeps alumni coming back — particularly for spring semester’s D-Week.
Hal Hiatt, board of trustee member and Alumni Association president, said he can’t help but notice campus’ physical changes since his time as a DSU student. Even if his alma mater looked completely different, though, numerous aspects of DSU would feel the same.
“It is amazing to see those changes on campus from that time until now,” he said. “To look over the campus and see the old fountain, the mural, then look at the student union building, and then the newest [additions] with the Holland Centennial Commons and the clock tower, it just keeps me in aw. Even though it has changed in so many ways, it is still the same dear, old Dixie.”
With the 100th anniversary of the “D” on the hill, the DSU Student Association and Alumni Association emphasized this idea in their D-Week planning — meshing what was and what is.
D-Week’s first event ushers in the slate a week in advance. Dixie Idol, now in its second year, starts today and runs until the pool of contestants continually narrows for its finale at the Wednes-D event April 15.
Officially, Monday the Kick Off, 8:30 a.m. to noon at the Diagonal, and Food Fest, 6 to 8 p.m. at the Encampment Mall, start D-Week. Sarah Beacco, DSUSA social events chair and a junior integrated studies major from St. George, said the inaugural Food Fest includes a chill atmosphere for students and alumni to mingle, plenty of food for all attendees and a performance by Raging Red.
And events for alumni-student interaction make D-Week notable, Hiatt said.
“[Students] will be able to create those long-term memories as they participate and catch the Dixie spirit and have a blast with the rest of us,” he said.
The D-Queen Pageant, 7:30 p.m. in Cox Auditorium, headlines Tuesday; a magician and the Dixie Idol finale, 7:30 p.m. in the Gardner Ballroom, comprise April 15’s D-Week schedule.
Chet Norman, Alumni Association marketing specialist and a senior integrated studies major from St. George, said the Alumni Association plays a large role in the April 16 marquee event: Break a World Record. The association encourages attendees to bring clothing they own with other universities’ insignia to trade in for DSU T-shirts.
Hiatt and Norman both said the Great Race — April 17 at 5 p.m. at Hansen Stadium — appeals greatest to students, alumni and community members. Pride and a place in history are both up for grabs, Norman said.
“The Great Race is always one of my favorites just because you go for that coveted title,” he said. “… It’s mainly bragging rights, but it’s one of those things that’s memorable and historic.”
D-Week’s final day, April 18, features a docket that revolves around the “D” on the hill’s century overlooking St. George. Participants meet at St. George Town Square for an 8 a.m. breakfast, buses shuttle attendees to the “D” at 9:30 a.m., and a drone will capture a centennial photo of them outlining the “D” at 10:15 a.m.
An Alumni Association banquet, Evening of Dixie — 7 p.m. in the Eccles Main Stage — honors distinguished DSU alumni, and the D-Day Dance, 9 to 11:45 p.m. at St. George Town Square, and True Rebel, midnight at the fountain, cap off the week.
This year, students can expect the experience that made True Rebel successful before, Beacco said.
“True Rebel Night will be the same as ever: everybody just making out in the fountain,” she said. “We’ll have ChapStick for everybody, and we’ll have a little surprise.”
Overall, DSUSA members hope students get both a history lesson and an understanding of their importance on campus during D-Week, said Krissia Beatty, DSUSA public events chair and a junior communication major from St. George.
“We are the future of Dixie, and at the same time, we are the past of Dixie, so everything we do needs to correlate with those who came before us along with those who follow us,” she said.