Dakota Days has gathered students, alumni and community members again and again to take part in traditions such as the parade, Yotes Got Talent and the street dance. For students, this means D-Days has looked a little different every year and no one has had the same experiences.
Alumna Micci Abbott grew up in Vermillion and was able to experience D-Days on multiple occasions. Abbott said the atmosphere was always rowdy and loud because she lived two blocks from downtown. She said some of her most prominent D-Days memories include her bike being stolen and then being found on the other side of town.
“Since I’m from Vermillion, I have kind of a long running experience with D-Days. I remember being little and my mother telling us not to go outside during D-Days because the drunk college students were going to ruin everything. And then I grew up and became a drunk college student myself. And so I’ve definitely been able to see both sides of it,” Abbott said.
Sophomore sports management and kinesiology major Nate Thomas said last year he was shocked at how few people attended the football game, but understands because the entire week is filled with drinking. Although this game is important to current USD students and alumni, Thomas said he doesn’t feel the pressure of playing in the D-Days football game because he trains hard like any other game.
“I think there’s more pressure actually on the coaches from the alumni to win. So I think some of that pressure they get on them comes to us a little bit. So it’s like, ‘Hey, let’s really focus,’” Thomas said.
Thomas said D-Days is an entire week of people partying and getting ready for the biggest day of the week, the Saturday football game. He believes this week is a homecoming to celebrate the seniors and the alumni, which is why there is so much pressure surrounding the football game.
Although there is a lot of partying and build up to the football game, Abbott said she thinks D-Days is an opportunity to celebrate the connection between the city of Vermillion and the USD campus.
“I think D-Days is an opportunity to celebrate the connection between USD and Vermillion and it makes people recognize the connection more and then in turn allows it to continue on because we talk about it and sometimes that really isn’t always as cohesive as we want it to be,” Abbott said. “But the fact that we take this time every year to be like, ‘isn’t this nice?’ This town that we share and the spaces that we share and the people that we share within our community? Like isn’t this lovely?”
With D-Days being celebrated all around the community, the campus is full of former and current Coyotes making memories like Thomas and Abbott that will last them a lifetime.