Hobo Day is known as the biggest one-day event in the Dakotas and longest-standing tradition of South Dakota State University.
With a full week of historical events, the celebrations culminate in Saturday’s parade led by the Pride of the Dakotas prior to the football game.
For one member of our Editorial Board who grew up attending Hobo Day, the parade brings back memories of watching the sunrise each year as the parade began. Not all of us share these memories, though.
One of us just remembers getting hit in the head with a football at the game while playing with other kids.
Another had never even heard of Hobo Day before coming to campus, and one of us, as a senior, has never celebrated Hobo Day.
Even though we didn’t all grow up with Hobo Day, its rich history becomes a staple in the college experience of all Jackrabbits.
Over time, unfortunately, the connotation of “hobo” has changed, and while the word commonly rings a negative tone today, Hobo Day is meant to preserve the tradition of hobos who rode the rails for a sense of adventure, traveling from job to job, venturing for new work and experiences.
The yearly Hobo Day taglines reflect this tradition, like 2015’s “Always an Adventure,” and “Never Stop Wandering” in 2014.
While many students come to campus with the impression of Hobo Week being “Hobo Daze,” a week to drink and party, many leave with an appreciation for the more than century-old traditions that come with the event.
Hobo Day Committee alumnus and Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Doug Wermedal encouraged all students to get involved with Hobo Week events, make their own memories and build upon the 105 years of history.
Reminiscing on his own Hobo Days as a student, Wermedal said he realized he was “laying another layer of the legacy” in his undergraduate years.
For The Collegian staff, Hobo Day is often the first time we get to know each other outside the office as we get together to build our float and walk in the parade. Although we spend more than 10 hours together every week putting together this paper, Hobo Day is often the first time in the school year we come together as friends and create memories outside of the office.
Joining the Hobo Day Committee and participating in Hobo Week events was the best decision of Wermedal’s undergraduate career, he said.
“The Hobo Day Committee is one of the greatest testaments to SDSU’s tradition of student-led organizations, like Little [International], The Collegian, Capers — it leads to lifelong friendships and long-lasting memories,” Wermedal said.
We, at The Collegian, encourage students to join in the hobo spirit and participate in this week’s events and create lifelong memories with friends.