Kickbacks, ollies and a supportive group of people ready to help you back up when you fall off your board. Even fear of falling off is not a reason to avoid this club. The Montclair State University Skater Club is an opportunity to learn skateboarding without judgment, any level of experience is welcome to join. Now that the Skater Club is officially recognized by the Student Government Association (SGA), they can finally get the resources they need to continue creating a safe and comfortable learning environment.
The Montclair State Skater club is a club for beginners and intermediate skaters alike. The club is currently led by its president Chris Zevallos. Many of the members are new to skateboarding, but regardless just wanted to be a part of a friendly and fun environment once a week, where they can skate with people who share the same passion.
Ajani Smith, an undeclared freshman, shared his reasons for joining the club as a beginner.
“I have always wanted to learn to skateboard, but I didn’t know about learning on my own,” Smith said.
The club was founded and started by former president and recent Montclair State graduate Lauren Bentivegna. To build the club up to what it is now was a fairly complicated process for her. She started the club in 2021, and from there Bentivegna dealt with a long process of exchanging emails to have her club officially recognized. It was not until Aug. of 2022 when Bentivegna finally received an email from the SGA saying that her club was approved.
“It felt like it came out of nowhere but I was super excited,” Bentivegna said. “Within the next two weeks, I attended the student leader retreat with my VP at the time, Chris, and we learned how to properly run our club.”
Bentivegna expresses her sentiments about the club’s growth.
“To be now officially associated with the SGA makes me feel like the university actually believes that skateboarding should be an accessible activity to their students even with the stereotype that skateboarding holds amongst professional environments,” Bentivegna said. “I feel very thankful for all of the people involved in helping make this happen and for overall believing in it and seeing the greatness it could bring to our campus.”
Since then, her former vice president Chris Zevallos has taken over as president and is forming his own plans to continue Bentivegna’s efforts to expand the club.
“My plan with the funding is I’m [going] be buying infrastructure essentially, obstacles, setups for people, safety equipment, whatever we really need that’s nice to have,” Zevallos said.
Zevallos plans for the future of the club is to become a safe learning environment for anyone who wants to learn to ride. He plans on involving Shred Co., a local skateboarding instruction business, with the club to create a proper learning environment for people with real instructors.
Zevallos’s goal for the club is to get a designated skate spot on campus.
“Skating is all about consistency and the more you are able to do it, the better you will get and the more progress you will be able to see,” Zevallos said.”If we give people the space to do that, it’s gonna help them in the long term.”
The club has built a solid community of regular members.
Moises Guerra, a freshman studying humanities, shares experience being a part of the club.
“Skate club is just a nice community, everyone is really helpful and nice, but everyone thinks that skateboarding is toxic,” Guerra said. “It really brings everyone together.”
“We are a whole different environment,” Zevallos said. “Skateboarding is something that you are doing because you want to do it, not because you have to, in comparison to some other clubs people are doing, some for more networking reasons, this is more about wanting to have fun,” Zevallos said when asked how the Skate club compares to other clubs on campus.
Montclair State Skaters general body meetings start at 3 p.m. every Wed. in room 2012 of University Hall. You can also find them on Instagram at @msuskaters.