In the fall of 2017, USD received the second highest number of new freshmen in the school’s history, adding to the vibrant nature of student life on campus. The number of international students is rising, and students enjoy a wide variety of ethnic events and fairs on campus each year.
Students from 50 states and 65 foreign countries make up the USD student body. About 66 percent come from the state of South Dakota.
The office of international recruitment is working to attract more students from abroad as part of a university-wide effort to increase diversity on campus. The Center for Academic and Global Engagement—Study Abroad, offers more than 200 study abroad opportunities on six continents.
USD offers the Native American Cultural Center along with Native Student Services to support and enrich the experience of Native American students. The Center for Diversity and Community offers a welcoming space for all students to share experiences, find support and make new friends.
About 4,000 students live on the USD campus in seven residence halls and two apartment-style buildings. Food service includes a Papa John’s pizzeria in the North Complex along with full service food options in the Muenster University Center, including Qdoba, Chick-fil-A and Einstein Bros. Bagels. The Greek system includes four sororities and eight fraternities, all emphasizing academics and service. About 130 student organizations exist to meet nearly every student’s interests.
Students also have the chance to participate in theatre, alongside the theatre majors in Fine Arts. The Black Hills Playhouse is a non-profit, professional, summer stock theatre located in Custer State Park near Center Lake. Founded in 1946 by Warren M. Lee, a former professor of theatre and Dean of Fine Arts at the University of South Dakota, the Playhouse serves as a cultural and educational center for the fine arts in the state of South Dakota. Each summer, theatre professionals, professors and students from across the country gather to create theatre in this unique environment.
The Sound of USD recruits students from all colleges for a traditional marching band. In addition, USD offers five other bands ranging from symphonic band to the percussion ensemble. Choirs include the world-traveled Chamber Singers, the concert choir and men’s and women’s choirs.
About 20 intramural sports activities are offered each semester. In addition USD offers club sports in archery, baseball, cricket, fencing, men’s rugby, women’s rugby, soccer, tennis, trap shooting and ultimate Frisbee.