Howard University just became the first HBCU to create a skating team!
Maya James and Cheyenne Walker are the co-founders of the figure skating club on campus, reports US Figure Skating. Both skaters ultimately chose a college without a team and immediately found themselves missing the sport.
“I just missed the sport, honestly,” James said. “I didn’t really skate that much during the pandemic; I stopped skating for like two years. As I was coming to college, I also saw a lot of the U.S. collegiate Instagram pages and how they went to competitions and how the competitions look so fun and welcoming.”
During their winter break in 2022, James read an article featuring Walker, which inspired her to reach out via Instagram about starting a figure skating club. Both women then made it their mission to bring skating to their school.
“When Maya reached out to me, I was so excited because I was speaking to other girls from figure skating in Harlem who go to Howard, and we would always speak about how we wish there was skating, but we didn’t know how to go about it,” Walker said. “So, when Maya was like, ‘Yeah, I want to start this,’ I was on board for sure because it’s definitely something that I wanted to see on our campus community.”
James is a junior studying psychology. Meanwhile Walker is a senior studying political science and Afro-American studies. She used her political science background to write the team’s constitution. They both worked to finalize the club’s schedule and budget.
James serves as the club’s president and Walker is the vice president. It took an entire semester to get the club registered through their university and U.S. Figure Skating. But by the summer of 2023, the Howard University Figure Skating Team officially became the first HBCU intercollegiate figure skating team.
Walker said, “Although I’m in my senior year, I’m so happy that Maya brought it to the table. I’m glad we’re working as a team to make this happen because I’m so excited that I can leave my impact on the campus community.”