Above board

Student group focuses on building community through sport

Scott Barger Jr. has ambitions.

At 20 years of age, he walks ahead of his peers by leaps and bounds as a senior in the business administration program at Ferris, but his heart lies beyond his classwork with a registered student organization (RSO) called Shred. He is the president.

Urban Dictionary definitions for the term “shred” are varied and, at times, just plain silly. However, the general Internet consensus associates the word with board sport: Surfing, snowboarding, longboarding and the like. Essentially, a person who “shreds” can surf, snowboard or longboard with exceptional skill.

“Shred developed into an organization that represents all of the board sports. We have over 130 people in our Facebook group, though that doesn’t necessarily represent the total members,” Barger said.

Although Shred is recognized as an official RSO, Barger said it’s more informal than that. Members organize small outings for snowboarding in the winter or longboarding in the warmer months without any limitations laid out for membership. The general motto is come one, come all.

“We really focus on community through the sport and living a healthy lifestyle,” Barger said.
Boarders get a bad rap, he noted. People see them as vandals and hoodlums, but Barger wants to change that.

“We’re trying to be respectful to the campus. Longboarding and skateboarding isn’t allowed, so we go into the city where it is allowed.”

Kevin Thomma, Ferris senior in the television and digital media program and an active member of Shred, resonates with Barger’s words.

“Ferris Shred is a community. It’s a way for people to network and see who else on campus is doing the same things they are. I am in Shred because I enjoy being part of a community of people who enjoy the same passion for shredding as I do,” Thomma said.

Shred’s center of gravity rests on its Facebook page, facebook.com/groups/FSULongboarding, where members freely invite each other for snowboarding trips or longboard rides around Big Rapids. Others post interesting shredding articles or videos, such as a clip about a boarder getting ticketed after tripping off speed cameras at 70 miles per hour.

Shred, though young and varied, represents a community of people doing what they love, but the love doesn’t end there.

Barger is driven. He is unsatisfied with Facebook-induced boarding runs or fun times on the ski hill; he wants more.

Shred is working on something big for this year, an event that will draw the group out of itself and into the next phase of community. Barger wants to spread the love.

He cannot reveal a lot of details, but a longboard race is being planned. It even has a name: “The Fat Rapids River Rush.” He’s already working sponsorship deals with longboard makers like Bustin and Original who represent two of the largest longboard manufacturers in the world.

Several regional sponsors from Michigan have hopped on board as well.

Barger is waiting on approval from the city of Big Rapids for the event in keeping with his philosophy of staying above board, but he has high hopes.

In the meantime, Shred will continue to build its community of openness with Barger leading the way.