Rutgers Figure Skating Club teaches community how to be comfortable on ice
Figure skaters of all levels have a place to share their passion for the sport with the Rutgers University Figure Skating Club (RUFSC).
The RUFSC is one of the newer clubs at Rutgers, but it has evolved quickly over the past three years.
Jasmine Lin, a School of Arts and Sciences senior and founder of the club, said she started the club because the skating community was missing from her college experience.
“I have been immersed in the skating community since I was 9 years old, and my first year at Rutgers was my first year without that ... community. During my freshman year, I found myself missing the feeling of skating with others, so I set out to start the club,” she said.
Lin ran into obstacles while trying to get the club started.
She wanted to make the club affordable for all students, she said. The process to become official took around five months.
"I started looking for potentially interested members around December of 2012, and had my first meeting with four other skaters in January of 2013. The most difficult part of starting the club was working out all of the potential kinks that could hold back smooth functioning," Lin said.
Lin structured a proposal for the first RU Figure Skating Club that was passed on April 19, 2013.
The club has evolved since then, she said. It has grown from only five skaters to having many people with all different skill levels, skating both professionally and simply for fun.
“The great thing about RUFSC is that you get to make it what you want it be," said Ciarra Williams, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences sophomore.
The club competes at various collegiate competitions where skaters can compete at any skill level, she said. They have open recreational skate sessions at a local rink three times a week.
One member of the team is a certified coach and mentor that helps beginners on the team learn basic skating skills and tricks, she said.
Williams has been skating since she was 10 years old, and ended up competing as a synchronized ice skater until she began college. Now, she coaches and skates recreationally.
“My favorite part is being recreational mentor this year,” she said. “Just helping students who sometimes have never stepped on ice before, and then watching them go from holding onto the wall for dear life to (a) two foot spin is something I really enjoy."
Many skaters in the club have competed as well, including Jamie Moschetto, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.
"I was a competitive figure skater for nine years, and I actually knew (Lin) long before I came to Rutgers," she said. "Most of the original members I was actually friends with, since we all skated at the same rink."
Lin, who has skated on Team USA, is not the only competitive skater in the club.
“Three club members are coaching certified, one club member is a former member of U.S. Figure Skating's Team USA, one club member is a current member of U.S. Figure Skating's Team USA, one club member is a former member of the Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) National Team and one club member was invited to join the Chinese Taipei National Team,” Lin said.
The club focuses not only on skating, but also on community service.
Last year, the club had a skate night fundraiser at Protec Ponds Iceskating Center where Moschetto said they took over the rink for the night, had public skating and offered free lessons.
“This was a great way to get our name out to the Rutgers community, and we are planning on having it again this semester in February," Moschetto said.
This club continues growing and encourages more skaters to join. Moschetto said any student can join the club, regardless of skill level.
“The people who are actively involved in the skating community are all filled with the same passion for flying across the ice, and it is that passion that has always kept me going. Being out on the ice is a freeing experience that brings me bliss.” Lin said.