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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Kickflips on the bricks

As you walk through Red Square, it’s hard to find a time when you don’t notice students trying to land a trick on a skateboard.

For some students, skateboarding has become something they have been doing daily as a hobby. Skateboarders enjoy how quick skating can be and how freeing it can feel to glide around campus.

Senior Austin Smith, a Fairhaven student, has been skating for four and a half years. Smith said he likes that there aren’t any coaches telling you what to do and the fact that there aren’t any winners or losers, but instead it’s just you against yourself.

“You can just glide on it. They do a good job of repairing bricks that are too misshapen or coming out.”

Muk de Guzman, junior

Although Western’s skateboarding culture isn’t very unified and there isn’t an official skateboarding club, many skateboarders have met because of the common hobby they share.

Freshman Sean Devenney said on a good day there will be about four or five different groups that gather around to do some skating. He thinks it’s a really great way to meet people and said everyone is usually pretty friendly.

“There was a guy trying to land a trick and I just chatted him up,” Devenney said. “It’s  common ground.”

Most of Western’s main walkways are made up of red brick, which is what attracts many of the skateboarders. Devenney said it’s good for skating because it adds speed despite all the little cracks. He also thinks it’s faster than cement.

Junior Coleman Farkas skates in Red Square Wednesday, April 26. // Photo by Jonathan Pendleton

“You can just glide on it. They do a good job of repairing bricks that are too misshapen or coming out,” junior Muk de Guzman said.

Red Square is a designated walking area and can get busy during the weekdays with people making their way across campus. Skateboarding and biking are prohibited, and a couple of skateboarders have been told multiple times not to skateboard by faculty. But that doesn’t keep them from enjoying the open area.

Skateboarders realize they have to be aware of others on the walkways, and have made an effort to be considerate by not skating around the area if they see that it’s too busy.

“I think people do a good job of sharing already,” de Guzman said. “I think students are on the right track but faculty and staff are sometimes against skateboarding.”

Although they try their best to be aware of those around them, it’s not always easy because people are distracted by their phones or listening to music. When pedestrians are not paying attention while walking, it makes it harder for skateboarders to avoid a collision.

Over winter break, Western added some skate-stopping clips around some of the ledges and benches around campus to prevent skateboarders from jumping and grinding on them.

On most days, you will usually find some skateboarders skating around the square after 4 p.m., when things have started to slow down and the walkways aren’t as crowded.


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