Rocker Connections

August 25-27, 2023

Organized by Student Engagement, Rocker Connection is open to all new, incoming students. Rocker Connection is an opportunity for first year students to meet one another, experience the Rapid City region, and form connections with returning students, faculty, and staff.

Space is limited for each trip. Students can sign up for a Rocker Connection via their New Student Checklist! Please Note: Each student may sign-up for only one adventure. Once registration and payment are received your spot is reserved; no refunds will be issued. Payment must be received within 48 hours of submitting your registration. Due to limited space, students are strongly encouraged to submit their payment during the initial registration process to make sure their spot is secured. While we will make every attempt to keep to the activities and timelines listed, changes to the schedules may occur. All changes will be communicated to the registered students.

REGISTER HERE (Registration opens July 7 & ends August 22)

*Note, the registration link takes you to your "New Student Checklist" you will need to be signed in with university credentials to access it.

Friday, August 25th

SEDS Stars and Rockets

South Dakota is the perfect place to see the stars at their best and brightest! Come join the SEDS (Students for the Exploration and Development of Space) chapter to launch model rockets high in the sky and then view various celestial bodies through telescopes. You won't want to miss this evening's spectacular views! If there is inclement weather Friday, this event may need to shift to Saturday or Sunday. We meet shortly before 6 PM in the Surbeck Center by the fireplace and then proceed from there. More detailed instructions will be sent to participants that first week of classes. Friday, August 25th  6 -10 pm. Cost: $10.00 plus tax. Limited to 22 new students.

Exploring and Fishing in the Black Hills

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship invites you to come away for some fun camping, fishing, hiking and exploring. We will gather at 5:00 pm, Friday, August 25 to drive to our camp site at Sheridan Lake. This is a beautiful campground in the Black Hills. We will be joined by 2 Faculty who especially enjoy fishing in the Black Hills. From our camp site there are several hike options. Transportation, tents, food, fishing equipment and guidance will be provided. You may bring your own camping and fishing equipment. You will need to have some shoes for hiking and sleeping bags. We have some sleeping bags available. If you want to fish please check out this site for information, Take me fishing. We will return to campus before noon on Sunday, August 27. Details of gathering location and departure time will be sent once you are registered. Friday, August 25th- Sunday, August 26th 5pm Friday–12pm Sunday. Cost: $29.00 plus tax. Limited to 15 new students.

STEMinist Retreat

All new women students are highly encouraged to attend this adventure-packed weekend with Women in Science and Engineering. We’ll escape to the cabins at Cedar Canyon Camp in Rapid City to make s’mores around the camp fire, watch movies on the lawn, try out sunrise yoga, chill and play games in the coffee shop and if you’re brave, zoom down a waterslide in the woods in the dark (affectionately known as the “backwoods luge”). Attendees can also test their limits and experience the Black Hills from new heights on the zip line and high rope courses. More of the nature walk and read a good book type? That’s fine. All social activities are optional. Plus, WiSE mentors from every department will be there to offer words of advice and help you jumpstart your college career. Sorry guys, this weekend is for STEMinists only. All participants will receive an exclusive STEMinist gift. We’ll stay in cabins with linens provided, but feel free to pack your sleeping bag and a towel. Food and transportation provided. Meeting instructions will be emailed. Friday, August 25 (5 pm)-Saturday, August 26, (12 pm) Cost: $40.00 plus tax.(open to all first-year women). No Limit.

Saturday, August 26th

Bridge and Canoe Lake Day and BBQ

Join us at beautiful Sylvan Lake in the Black Hills for lunch and activities. Students will have the opportunity to meet civil engineering students, paddle a concrete canoe, and construct a steel bridge that was used at the AISC steel bridge competition. Come and learn about Civil Engineering and two of the CAMP Teams here at South Dakota Mines. Please meet at the back of the Civil Engineering building. Bring water, sunscreen, swimsuit, please contact Hayden Casdorph with any dietary restrictions as food will be provided. Saturday, August 26th 10:30 am-2pm. Cost: FREE.  No Limit.

Badlands National Park Hiking Trip

The Paleontology Club will be taking a day trip to Badlands National Park! This trip is geared more towards paleontology and geology fields since those will be the topics covered. Anyone who is interested in joining the paleontology club or have an interest in paleontology are welcome to come! We will be hiking around and exploring the Badlands. We will also see the visitor center and the preparation lab. Bring your own lunch! We will be finding a nice spot to eat lunch after hiking or taking a break when hiking. We will be discussing the paleontological history of the area and the past life. This trip is free and is open to any first year student. We will be leaving the campus at 7:30 am till around 5pm since the drive is 1 hour 30 minutes. Bring closed toe shoes (preferably hiking shoes) and lots of water as well! This will be an all day weather permitting. Students must meet in front of the PRL (the museum side) before 7:30 with their own lunch and plenty of water. Saturday, August 26th 7:30am-5pm. Cost: Free. Limit: 19 new students. 

Data Science BBQ

Get ready to join the Data Mining Club for a fantastic BBQ down at the bottom of M-Hill! We've got all your favorites covered: hot dogs, burgers, refreshing soda, and more. But it's not just about the food. This event is a chance to mingle with our amazing club members and have a great time. Whether you're studying engineering, computer science, math, or any other major, you're welcome to join us. It's a perfect opportunity to meet new people and make connections while enjoying some tasty treats. Curious about data science and how it applies to different fields? Don't hesitate to bring your questions! Our friendly club members are here to chat and share their knowledge. No matter what your major is, data science has something valuable to offer, and we're here to help you explore its possibilities. If you have any dietary restrictions or questions about the BBQ, feel free to reach out to us at We can't wait to see you there! We will meet in Surbeck at 11:30 am to form carpools and head to M-Hill. Feel free to bring any board games or outdoor games you would like to play. Saturday, August 26th 11:30am- 2pm. Cost: Free. No Limit.

Flight Day

Prepare yourself for an extraordinary Flight Day event on August 26th, made possible by the groundbreaking partnership between UAS and Aero Design, two leading aerial CAMP teams. This exceptional collaboration sets the stage for showcasing the very best in unmanned aerial systems and innovative aircraft designs right on campus. The Flight Day features a diverse range of flight activities and competitions, offering an incredible opportunity to witness various types of aircraft in action. From the lightning-fast racing drones to the 18 foot heavy lift planes, get ready to experience the full spectrum of aerial excitement. But that's not all. Participants will have the unique chance to get hands-on flying experience with these remarkable aircraft, navigating through a range of challenging obstacles. Whether you're an aviation enthusiast, a technology aficionado, or simply seeking an unforgettable experience, this Flight Day event has something for everyone. We will provide food. Saturday, August 26th 3-6pm. Cost: Free. Limit 25 new students.

Rapid City Photo Scavenger Hunt

Explore Downtown Rapid City. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship invites you to participate as a team and solve various riddles about unique locations in downtown Rapid City. Teams will be competing against each other by solving clues throughout the scavenger hunt to correctly identify specific locations and submit photos to progress to the next clue. We will start at 3pm and after the scavenger hunt all teams will be invited to join us for supper. You are welcome to register with your friends, but please indicate if you would like to be on a team with someone else (max team size of 5). Thanks for signing up. If you would like to be on a team with someone else, please email with the name(s) of the people you would like to be on a team with. Saturday, August 26th 3pm-6pm. Cost: Free. Limited to 20 new students.

Rock Climbing in the Black Hills

The Hardrocker Climbing Club will bring 10 freshman students on a day climbing trip out to the Black Hills. During the trip, we will climb rock formations and cliffs in the Rushmore/Wrinkled Rock area. All climbing gear (Rope, Harnesses, helmets, shoes, etc.) is provided. This is a great opportunity to meet new people and get out of your comfort zone in a safe and supervised environment. Transportation is provided. We will meet inside the main doors of the Surbeck Center at 9:00 AM Saturday, August 26. Students should bring water, snacks, sunscreen, and comfortable outdoor clothing. Saturday, August 26th 9 am. Cost: Free. Limited to 10 new students.

Geology Hike and Agate Hunting

The Geology Hike and Agate Hunting event will provide students with an opportunity to observe and learn about the rich geologic history of the Black Hills region. In the morning we will take a hike through a canyon that provides an excellent opportunity to observe some Black Hills geology first-hand. In the afternoon we will hunt for agates in one of the well-known agate localities in the plains just east of the Black Hills. Please bring a water bottle, sturdy shoes, a hat, and an adventurous spirit! Meet in the Surbeck Lobby at 8:45. Lunch will be provided (watch for an e-mail asking about food preferences the week before the event). Saturday, August 26th 8:45am.Cost: $25. Limited to 20 new students.

Leadership in Paintball

Sponsored by the Military Science Department, students will enjoy the great outdoors, use paintball markers, learn team building skills, and meet their peers during these simulated military missions and problem-solving adventures that will require leadership, teamwork, and analytical skills. The adventure will be conducted on a local military training facility, and will pit participants against time, terrain, and each other, with the assistance of experienced soldiers in simulated military missions! This adventure is moderately strenuous and requires participants to wear rugged clothing that you do not mind getting dirty, and to wear good shoes which you can be comfortable with hiking through rocks and wooded terrain. Water bottles and lunch will be provided. Prizes will be awarded to the top teams. Meet at the bottom floor of the Classroom Building, Room 117 at 8:00 a.m. Saturday, August 26th 8am. Cost: Free. No limit.

Tour of Homestake Mine Visitor’s Center

Enjoy a tour of the Homestake Mine and Sanford Underground Research Facility with the South Dakota Mines Mine Rescue Team. The Sanford Lab visitor center offers rich historical information on the history of mining in the black hills at Homestake and current operations of SURF. View a 1000 foot deep open cut mine on the tour. Afterwards, lunch will be provided at Manuel Brothers Park. Plan to leave the school by 9:00 AM and return to school around 2:00 PM. Transportation and lunch are provided. Meet in McLaury Parking lot at 9:00 AM. Saturday, August 26th 9am-2pm. Cost: Free. No limit.

BAJA and Formula SAE Team Drive Day

Come learn about CAMP's Baja SAE and Formula SAE teams, see their past designs, and drive their vehicles. Long pants and sneakers are required. Lunch will be provided. Meet in front of the Civil/Mechanical Building at 8am. Saturday, August 26th 8am. Cost: $15. Limited to 20 new students.

Sunday, August 27th

Rotaract BBQ

Prepare yourself for a delicious BBQ at Canyon Lake with the Rotaract Club! We're firing up the grill and serving hot dogs, burgers, and soda. This event is an opportunity to connect, grow, and thrive. As a club dedicated to community service and closely collaborating with the local Rotary clubs, the Rotaract Club provides a platform for professional and leadership development. There will even be some Rotary members for you to connect with at the event. Join us for a delightful afternoon of delicious food, meaningful connections, and discover how we can help you unlock your true potential through exciting community service and development opportunities. Together, we can make a lasting impact on our community with the Rotaract Club's motto in mind: Service Above Self. We hope to see you there! We will meet at 11:30 am in Surbeck and form carpools to go to Canyon Lake. Email for any questions or dietary restrictions. Sunday, August 27th 11:30 am-2 pm. Cost: Free. Not Limit.

Hike & Swim

Join employees of the Student Development division for a hike on the Sunday Gulch Trail in Custer State Park and a swim in Sylvan Lake. This 3-mile loop trail starts at Sylvan Lake and winds through the scenic Black Elk Wilderness. The trail is moderately strenuous, and you may get your feet wet. There are several creek crossings, and the last portion is up large granite boulders that often have water running over them. This area does have metal handrails if you need them. After the hike, feel free to take a dip in Sylvan Lake or relax on the beach. We will have food for a picnic lunch, but you are welcome to bring your own if you'd like. Please bring a water bottle or camelback. We will meet in the parking lot on the east side of Surbeck (main entrance) at 8:00 a.m. Transportation is provided. Sunday, August 27th 8am-2pm. Cost: Free. Limited to 20 new students.

The a-MAZE-ing Cave Adventure

Take a tour of Wonderland Cave.  One of the few "living caves" in the Black Hills area.  On our way back we'll stop by the Rock Maze.  A natural formation of fractured granite that provides numerous maze-like crevices to explore. Sack lunch will be provided. Bring money for gift shop if wanted, and a jacket for the cave. Sunday, August 27 9am-1pm. Cost: $20 plus tax. Limited to 15 new students.