Students’ Association Brief: SDSU Connect promotes Sioux Falls collaborations

Jacob Boyko, News Editor (He/Him)

At the Jan. 30 Students’ Association meeting, SDSU’s vice president of external affairs and 2022 Hobo Day grand pooba presented their “long-game” strategy to boost SDSU’s numbers amid population changes and declining university enrollment across South Dakota. The Senate also passed resolutions in support of Pierre legislation and nominated a candidate for Students’ Association president.

SDSU Connect:

Vernon Brown, vice president of external affairs, and Regen Weiderrich, SDSU Connect coordinator and 2022 Hobo Day grand pooba, presented SDSU Connect. The initiative aims to give SDSU a larger presence in Sioux Falls through their media, district legislators, middle schools, high schools, city government, county government and businesses. 

Brown, who joined SDSU last fall, previously worked for KELO-TV and SDN Communications and has served on the Sioux Falls City Council. 

Weiderrich graduated in December with a degree in communication studies and previously worked as an admissions ambassador at SDSU. 

“Because Sioux Falls now makes up 30% of the population in South Dakota, we have about 30% of the seats in the legislature too,” Brown said. “So it’s important as the biggest, most comprehensive university in the state to be forming relationships with Sioux Falls legislators as well.” 

Weiderrich overviewed the strategy SDSU Connect is implementing in area middle schools. 

“Right now, there are six middle schools in the city of Sioux Falls,” Weiderrich said. “Three of those are with the Promising Futures Fund, coming to campus for tours of SDSU, (University of South Dakota), (Augustana), and (Dakota State University). But President Dunn and SDSU really want to expand that to all middle schools in the Sioux Falls metro area.”

The Promising Futures Fund is an organization that helps economically-disadvantaged children receive a better education.

“We’re also helping promote graduate school,” Brown said. “There are 2,000 teachers in Sioux Falls, and education is one of the last areas where (employees) are paid by their education level. There’s this pool of potential graduate students in the Sioux Falls School District.” 

Another aspect of the plan is to help “elevate” President Barry Dunn’s exposure to Sioux Falls businesses, Brown said. 


International Relations Council announced their annual International Night has been moved from January to March due to lack of communication with SDSU’s dining services provider, Sodexo. 

Abigail Dejong, vice president of the Armed Forces Association, also updated the Senate about work the association does. According to Dejong, AFA has provided security during Swiftel Center events, has helped with food drives and raised money and food for the Brookings Domestic Abuse Shelter and the Jack’s Cupboard food pantry. 


The Senate discussed Resolution 22-16-R, which “requests the addition of a scoreboard on the north side of Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium across from the student section.”

“I think we all understand how annoying it is to turn around and see the score, so I’m not going to elaborate on that,” Trinity Peterson, senator for the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences, said. “But one of the most important things I think this resolution addresses is the fact that it’s not really ADA accessible.”

Peterson said the wheelchair seating in the student section wouldn’t allow for students to easily turn around to see the score. The Senate unanimously approved the resolution.

Resolution 22-17-R, which supported HB 1031, was tabled because of unclear language from the legislature. 

HB 1031 makes “an appropriation for the revised construction costs of the dairy research and extension farm at South Dakota State University, and to declare an emergency.”

The Senate and faculty advisers were not sure if HB 1031 will repair the existing building or fund a new one.

The Senate unanimously approved Resolution 22-18-R, which supports House Bill 1032 appropriation “for the demolition and reconstruction of agricultural-use structures at South Dakota State University, and to declare an emergency.”

Structures damaged during the May 12 derecho include two experiment hoop sheds, the monoslope horse building, the sheep unit commodity building and the beef breeding north barn. 

The last resolution, 22-19-R, supports HB 1055. HB 1055 will “allow the maximum award possible to increase by $1,000 from $6,500 to $7,500.” The resolution passed with unanimous support.