Rocker Connections

August 27-29, 2021

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.

Friday, August 27

  • STEMinist Adventure Retreat sponsored by POET: All new women students are highly encouraged to attend this adventure-packed weekend with Women in Science and Engineering. We will escape to the cabins at Cedar Canyon Camp in Rapid City to make s’mores around the campfire, watch movies on the lawn, try out sunrise yoga, chill and play games in the coffee shop and if you are 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 ropes courses. More of the nature walk and read a good book type? That is 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 will stay in cabins, but make sure to pack your sleeping bag and a towel. We will meet at the camp on Friday, August 27th at 5pm via personal transportation or carpooling from campus. Friday, August 27 (5 pm) Saturday, August 28, (1:30 pm) Cost: $10.00 plus tax (open to all first-year women).
  • Intro to Paddle Sports: Sponsored by Black Hills Paddle Sports: Get a taste for all things paddle sports including kayaking, paddle boarding, and pack-rafting from certified ACA instructors. Learn about hydrology, river features, and experience the differences between paddling calm, flat water, and moving water. We will meet at Canyon Lake on the west end where Rapid Creek flows into the lake. Participants can try out any discipline they prefer to explore, instructors will be available to assist with each. All necessary equipment will be provided including boat/board, paddle, PFD, helmet, and splash gear. Participants will need to provide appropriate footwear (old tennis shoes, hiking sandals or aqua shoes) and dress appropriately to get wet, bring a towel and perhaps a change of clothing for after class. Leave Mines at 3 pm. Travel to Canyon Lake by 3:40 p.m. Leave Canyon Lake at 6:30 p.m. Return to Mines by 7 p.m. Friday, August 27 4pm – 7pm. Cost:  $35 plus tax.  Limited to 15 participants. New this year!
  • 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 will not want to miss this evening's spectacular views! Meet on Friday August 27 at 6 pm in the Surbeck Center by the fireplace on the upper floor. Check your email as instructions on rescheduling will be provided in the event of inclement weather. Friday, August 27, 6 pm – 10 pm. Cost: $10.00 plus tax.  Limited to 25 students.

  • Exploring, Fishing and Hiking in the Black Hills: InterVarsity Christian Fellowship invites you to come away for some fun camping, fishing, hiking, and exploring.  This is a beautiful Campground in Custer State Park. We will be joined by 2 Faculty who especially enjoy fishing in the Black Hills. From our campsite there are several hiking options. Transportation, tents, food, fishing equipment and guidance will be provided. You can 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 gather at 5:00 pm, on Friday, August 27, to drive to our camp site at Center Lake. Plan to gather in front (on the east side) of Surbeck Center. Vehicles will be parked there for our trip. We will return to campus before noon on Sunday, August 29. Cost: $39.00 plus tax. Limited to 20 students.
  • Digging Into the Past: Sponsored by Paleontology Club.  We will take you on an adventure into the paleontology of the state. During the trip, you will have the opportunity to go out into the field and prospect for fossils, camp, and hike while learning more about the local area. Meet at 5:00 pm at the front door of Paleontology Research Lab on Friday. Friday, August 27- Sunday, August 29. Cost:  $55.00 plus tax. Limited to 15 students. 

Saturday, August 28

  • Nuclear Nerdvana: You never forget your first Nuclear Missile! Join the Physics Department in a visit to the South Dakota Air & Space Museum and enter one of the few remaining training bunkers used by the U.S. Air Force, which houses a Minuteman Nuclear Missile. Learn how Ellsworth Air Force Base aided in the defense of our country during the cold war era. Meeting time: 9:00 am, Location: Surbeck Main Lobby, next to fireplace.  Saturday, August 28 (9 am -12 pm).  Cost: $2.00 plus tax. Limited to 10 students.
  • Geology Hike and Agate Hunting Adventure: The Geology Hike and Agate Hunting Adventure 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.  Students will also have an opportunity to interact with current undergraduate students and faculty from the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering. Meet in the Surbeck Lobby at 8:45 am on Saturday. Saturday, August 28 (9am-5pm). Cost: $30.00 plus tax. Limited to 16 students.
  • Laser Tag and Go Karts with Student Senate: Enjoy a day of laser tag and go karting with the Student Senate. Afterwards, picnicking and a movie will finish the day. This weekend sends you to a few of South Dakota Mines’ favorite places and activities around Rapid City. During the event, ask student senators about what it means to represent students to the university, community, and state government. Meet at Surbeck fireplace at 10:45 am. Saturday, August 28 (11 am – 5 pm) Cost: $25.00 plus tax. Limited to 11 students.

  • Rock Climbing at South Seas: Sponsored by the Hardrocker Climbing Club, this day-long adventure will give students an opportunity to learn the basics of rock climbing at South Seas near Mt. Rushmore.  We will climb a variety of short routes of varying difficulty, matched to the abilities of the students.  We will finish the day with a barbecue near the climbing area. All necessary equipment is provided. The largest shoe size is 13. Meet at 8:30 am in the Surbeck lobby. Bring water, a snack, and sunscreen. Some people prefer to climb in shorts, some prefer long pants, but don't wear anything too tight to move easily! Saturday, August 28. Cost: $25.00 plus tax. Limited to 10 students.
  • Drive Day with the Formula and Baja SAE Teams:  Come learn about CAMP’s Formula and Baja SAE teams and see past concepts and designs as well as drive the old vehicles. Long pants and sneakers are required. Lunch will be provided. Meet at the front of the Mechanical Engineering Building at 8 am. Students will spend the morning with either the Formula team or Baja team then switch teams after lunch. Long pants and sneakers required; lunch provided (12-1pm tentatively). Total day is 8 am-5 pm. Saturday, August 28. Cost:  $15 plus tax. Limited to 20 students. New this year! 
  • Black Hills Geology: Our morning will start with a hike up to the top of Crow Peak, a moderate 6.8-mile round trip hike. At the top, we will have lunch enjoying the 360° panoramic views of the Black Hills/Wyoming and discuss the young magmatic/volcanic formation. The afternoon will include a gentle hike along the Little Elk Creek trail. As we hike back in geologic time along the lush stream valley, we will see some of the most iconic geological formations that blanket most of the area, stopping at the top to see some of the oldest rocks in the Black Hills. As we will spend most of the day outside hiking, appropriate footwear, and clothing along with plenty of drinking water and a sack lunch are required. We will meet in the parking lot west of the library at 7:45 am with the expectation to leave campus at 8:00 am on Saturday morning. Saturday, August 28. Cost is free. Limited to 20 students. New this year!
  • Welcome Retreat: The Newman Club is happy to welcome you to our thriving community. Join us for the weekend and connect with other students and God while we play games, make friends, pray, and celebrate mass. Meet at the Newman Center at 5 pm Saturday August 28. We will be done by 11 am Sunday August 29. Saturday, August 28. Cost:  $15.00 plus tax. Limited to 30 students.New this year! 
  • An exploration of Mining in the Black Hills: Sponsored by Mining Engineering and Management. Students will spend a day of learning about mining in the Black Hills. This will include a visit to the Sandford Research Facility Surface Operations and a presentation on the Caterpillar research lab. The afternoon will be spent exploring mining via a visit to the mining museum and a hike in the Black Hills or tour of a historic mining town. Meet at 8 am in the MI building, Room 235. Saturday, August 28. Cost is free. Limited to 8 students. 
  • Paintball with Military Science:  Sponsored by the Military Science Department, students will enjoy the great outdoors, use paintball guns, learn team building skills, and meet their peers during these simulated military missions and problem-solving adventure 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 experienced soldiers, in a simulated military mission! This adventure is moderately strenuous and requires participants to bring water, 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. Prizes will be awarded to the top teams. Meet at the Military Science Department at 8:00 am. Saturday, August 28. Cost is free. Limited to 40 Students. 
  • Flight Nite: The AeroDesign team will host an interactive learning event designed to get new students some introductory hands-on experience with the kind of design, manufacturing, and flying that the team does to build a competition aircraft each year. First the group will build/prep trainer airplanes and then we will get hands on with last year's competition plane, examining what went right and wrong with the design. Weather allowing, we will fly a few of the trainers, giving new students a go at the controls. If the weather is poor, we will test out airplane design concepts with simulation software where new students can create and fly different designs. Pizza and drinks will be provided! Meet in the campus Quad at 10:00am Saturday, August 28. Cost:  $20 plus tax. Limited to 20 students. New this year!
  • Be-lunging at Mines: An Analysis of Gauze and Effect of Hiking: Are you pale from a summer of research or working? Do you enjoy donuts? If so, start off your first weekend at Mines with a wilderness medicine hike in the Black Hills! Transportation to the hills will be provided and this short (and surprising) adventure will set a tone for your semester at Mines! Sponsored by Future Health Science Professionals, Mines Emergency Medical Service Club, and Biomedical Engineering Society. Meet your fellow classmates from across several disciplines, all majors are encouraged to attend! See you in the hills! Meet at 9:00 am in McLaury parking lot. Saturday, August 28. Cost: $10.00 plus tax. Limited to 10 students. New this year!
  • Underground Emergency- Mine Rescue: Experience an exciting and hands on training with the Mines Rescue Team. Participants will participate in the simulated mine emergency scenario in an underground mine in the Black Hills. Participants will learn about safety, first aid, teamwork, and problem solving. Food will be provided. Meet at 2:00 pm in the McLaury parking lot. Saturday, August 28. Cost:  $25 plus tax. Limited to 40 studentsNew this year!
  • Bike Trail Build and Ride: Hardrocker Human Powered Vehicle will be hosting a trail build day for new students to volunteer with the new trail being built around campus. This is a valuable experience to meet team members and help improve the school. After trail work is complete, we will move to Founder's Park for a picnic, food provided. The picnic is highly encouraged but not mandatory. Meet at 8 am in front of Surbeck Center. Saturday, August 28. Cost is free. No Participant Limit. New this year!
  • PDI’s Introduction to the Black Hills: Come join the SDSMT Professional Development Institution for an all-day event introducing you to the Black Hills. One of the many benefits of coming to School of Mines includes the thriving tourism industry and a plethora of activities in the hills. The goal of this Rocker Connection is to give you a chance to see some of the highlights of the Black Hills along with a couple of secrets known only to students and locals. We will be spending the day introducing participants to places such as The Needles Highway, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, and Custer. Starting the day off we will head into the Hills before stopping around noon in one of the Black Hills' many parks for a light lunch before eventually returning to town. This event should give you a chance to really get your college experience started on a high note! Meet at the grill between Palmerton and Peterson Halls at 8:45 am. Saturday, August 28. Cost:  $10.00 plus tax. Limited to 24 students. New this year!