The Rise of Montclair State University Skaters

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Published November 16, 2021
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The Montclarion
MSU Skaters students sitting outside Student Center. Photo courtesy of Nick Rifflard

For many years, students at Montclair State University have ridden skateboards throughout campus. Students use them as means to get to classes, dining halls or their dorms, in a faster and more efficient way – as well as for recreational use.

In September 2021, a new organization at Montclair State was formed that was all about skateboarding, the Montclair State University (MSU) Skaters. The MSU Skaters organization was founded by junior communication studies major Lauren Bentivegna.

Bentivegna often saw students skateboarding throughout campus and she wanted to form a community to get to know everyone who skated.

Bentivegna was going through a depressive episode years ago, so she started skating as an escape.

“I started skateboarding about three years ago as a senior in high school,” Bentivegna said. “I went to my local park whenever I had time to go skateboarding on my own. I wanted to do something to clear my mind.”

Lauren Bentivegna stands on her skateboard at Student Quad. Photo courtesy of Tommy Bavaro

Lauren Bentivegna stands on her skateboard at Student Quad.
Photo courtesy of Tommy Bavaro

Daniel Ospino, a sophomore music education major, started skateboarding when he was four years old. He was surprised to find a skateboarding club at Montclair state.

“I discovered this organization from Instagram,” Ospino said. “I was surprised at first because I did not know this club existed until it popped up on Instagram. I said to myself, “A skaters club?'”

Daniel Ospino shows off his personalized skateboard by the Student Quad. Photo courtesy of Tommy Bavaro

Daniel Ospino shows off his personalized skateboard by the quad.
Photo courtesy of Tommy Bavaro

Ospino can be seen skating all over campus, even during the busiest times.

“I try to skate whenever I can, whether it be on campus or not,” Ospino said. “When I’m on campus, I usually skateboard to get to classes faster.”

Denton Moreland, a freshman music education student, has been skateboarding for two years. Moreland started skateboarding when the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic broke out. At the beginning of the pandemic, Moreland didn’t have too much to do until he pulled out his old skateboard from his garage.

He has turned his pandemic hobby into an efficient way to get around campus.

“I skateboard every day because that’s how I get to classes, my dorm and dining halls,” Moreland said. “Even when I’m home, I skateboard all the time.”

Denton Moreland decorates his skateboard with stickers. Photo courtesy of Tommy Bavaro

Denton Moreland decorates his skateboard with stickers.
Photo courtesy of Tommy Bavaro

Moreland discovered MSU Skaters in a similar manner to Ospino.

“I also discovered the MSU Skaters club on Instagram,” Moreland said. “I thought to myself, ‘Hey, why not?'”

Instagram does seem to be the main entry point for new members but there are still a few challenges that the MSU Skaters are facing right now. It’s hard for Bentivegna to find members that have enough availability to commit to the club. As of today, Bentivegna is the only person who oversees the MSU Skaters organization.

The organization is not yet fully affiliated with the school, which means any events must take place off-campus.

One of Bentivegna’s biggest goals is to get MSU Skaters recognized by Montclair State.

MSU Skaters students skateboarding outside Calcia Hall. Photo courtesy of Nick Rifflard

MSU Skaters students skateboarding outside Calcia Hall.
Photo courtesy of Nick Rifflard

“I want to make this organization a real club in the future so that way we get funds from the school,” Bentivegna said. “I would use the funds to buy skateboards and skate tools for beginners. The main challenge that I have right now is starting an [official] team [organization].”

Bentivegna hopes to get more students involved as the school year progresses. To learn more about the MSU Skaters organization, you can follow their Instagram account, @msuskaters.

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