Dixie State University celebrated its 108th birthday on Sep. 19 by hosting a self-guided tour of eight of the hand-painted Trailblazer bison statues placed around town.
Bailey Zimmerman, events and promotions coordinator said University Marketing and Communication was in charge of the event and had help from volunteers from the Student Alumni Association.
Each bison is sponsored by the business it is located at, and each business had a free treat or prize available for anyone that showed up. The locations included Town Square Park, Patches of Iris and Violet, Best Western Coral Hills, Atwood Innovation Plaza, Katering Koncepts, Ken Garff St. George Ford Lincoln, Tagg-N-Go and Stapley Pharmacy.
The celebration this year was unique because it involved the community and was not solely sponsored by DSU. The 2018 birthday celebration consisted of a tour of five of the bisons around town and was sponsored only by DSU.
Zimmerman said she wanted a celebration to engage with the businesses and to be free and fun for students and the community.
Alumna Michelle Stauffer said it was a fun activity to experience with her kids. She said being a DSU graduate herself, she wanted to get more involved with the SAA and thought this was a great opportunity to do that.
“I think [DSU is] a big part of the community,” Stauffer said. “It has really shaped how the community has grown and I think we should celebrate it.”
Zimmerman said it has been discussed to have this as an annual DSU birthday celebration.
“We celebrate our birthday because we’re proud of the heritage, where we’ve come, and how far we’ve come,” Zimmerman said. “We really have made great strides in the last 108 years — going from being combined with a high school to a four-year institution that has masters degrees and extended programs and grown significantly.”
DSU sponsored the bison at Town Square Park but also had volunteers at Tagg-N-Go, Atwood Innovation Plaza and Stapley Pharmacy.
“[The significance of the bison is] to help showcase those bison and to really remember … [DSU] is in our community and we want the community to be involved here,” Zimmerman said.
SAA was handing out mini cupcakes and playing music at Town Square Park, mini cupcakes and goodie bags at Tag-N-Go, custom made wooden coasters at Atwood Innovation Plaza, and mini plastic pizza cutters at Stapley Pharmacy.
Red and white flowers were available at the Patches of Iris and Violet flower shop to symbolize DSU’s colors and represent the Dixie spirit, said Isaac Parthun, an employee of Patches of Iris and Violet.
Popsicles and a raffle wheel were located at Best Western Coral Hills. The wheel consisted of prizes such as a beach ball, a bag or a toy airplane.
Katering Koncepts had various choices of goodies including chocolate chip cookies, lemon bars, brownies and snicker doodles.
At Ken Garff St. George Ford Lincoln, Austin Szatlocky, who does marketing and advertising for Ken Graff, had a wheel of fortune for prizes varying from pens and key chains to a free oil change or car wash.
Szatlocky said Ken Graff is a proud sponsor of DSU and he was happy to participate in the birthday celebration and to do anything to get people over there for free prizes.
“I think that so much of this community and this college has brought us together,” Szatlocky said. “It’s awesome to see that we can celebrate [DSU’s] birthday every year and have some fun events like this, and it brings us all together.”