Skateboarders have been quietly embracing academia for a number of years, and while upcoming skaters still hold the low GPA “cool guy” status quo, letting out our inner nerds is now way more socially acceptable in skating. There’s pros earning degrees in between video parts, classes and research papers about skateboarding, and even a conference lined with PhDs debating the ultimate mystery: The secret to Gino’s push.
Within our new era of sk8 enlightenment, it’s only logical that skateboarders can earn college scholarships for refusing to ever give up their wooden toys.
This year the College Skateboarding Educational Foundation (CSEF) launched an initiative to award scholarships of $500 each to seven skateboarders in either undergraduate or graduate degree programs across the U.S. It may only cover some
skate hardgoods textbooks, but it’s still free money.
Applicants were assessed on GPA, financial need, and involvement within their respective skateboarding communities. Because it’s not just about who does the biggest benihanas off the launch ramp. Sometimes it’s also about whoever makes sure the launch ramp is skateable year after year.
Keegan Guizard, CSEF’s Executive Director, started the foundation with his fellow board members (no pun intended) Neftalie Williams and Thomas Barker after the success of launching Collegiate Skate Tour (CST), which allows skateboarding college students to travel the country competing and networking with one another. While CST has clubs in at least fourteen schools (see their guide for starting one at your school if you’re so inclined), with CSEF’s scholarship, students at any U.S. college or university can use their skateboards to do more than liven up their dating profile pic.
Below are the names of this year’s recipients:
All of the recipients improved their local skate scenes in one way or another, from creating groups for underrepresented skateboarders to working on DIY spots in both middle of nowhere Alaska and Lower Bobs in Oakland, CA.
If you are a student and have interest in receiving extra money for school and want to increase your chance of being selected, Guizard’s advice is to focus on community involvement. “A lot of people we selected either started or helped an organization that helps skateboarding or gets skateparks built in their community,” he said. “If they’re giving back to people, even if they don’t have much to give, that’s important. Because if you’re having a hard time paying for school and you’re spending your time doing rad shit for no money, you’re the one we want to hook up.”
Guizard also clarified that neither busting tight-ass switch heels nor pushing mongo would help put applicants ahead or behind.
Congratulations to all the recipients, and if you want to apply, keep an eye out next fall when the applications reopen. Because Americans already have more student loan debt than they do credit card debt, so you might as well get some free paper while you’re getting that paper.