Next, we say farewell to the King of Smash free-for-alls and the Bowser Jr. with a notorious reputation, Justin “Grand Pastor J.” Winfrey! Justin has been a long standing Rutgers Esports Officer serving as a member of our Social Media committee, being the Vice President for Smash 4 and Ultimate in his senior year, and eventually becoming the Director of Community Relations in his last semester.
Justin truly cared about every member of his club and he could be seen tabling at a student center, putting up fliers for our events, or challenging people in minigame contests to help raise money. He took it upon himself to make collaborations with other clubs to host new events and he also played a key role in hosting Scarlet Smash tournaments at all of our events, be it the Scarlet Classic V or an Esteemed Smash Ultimate Biweekly.
Regardless of projects, exams, or the horrible stenches of body sweat emanating from players, his attitude to help others has admirably unwavered during his time involved with us and his respect for the community has led him to be a vocal leader in our org and at our events. We will surely remember Justin for his contributions to Scarlet Smash and to Rutgers Esports, and for how many times he has Doriyah’d us!
Having graduated with a major in Psychology and a minor in Biology, Justin will be returning to Rutgers University as a Graduate Student this Fall Semester where he will be working towards his Masters in the School of Social Work. A humanitarian at heart, we’ve witnessed the good that you can offer the community and look forward to what you may—no what you WILL accomplish in the future Justin! Good luck!
Who is Justin Winfrey?
My name is Justin D. Winfrey. I am a basketball/volley player, competitive Smash (4/Ultimate) player, gamer all-around, and charity fiend born and raised in Paterson, New Jersey. I (of course) love to play video games (competitive, casual, with friends, or for my comfort/amusement), as well as enjoy playing sports of any kind, hanging out with my friends, listening to music, sleeping, exercise/going on walks, and helping out others (be it friend, family, community, or random person) whenever I can. When able, I like partaking in community service ventures to help others that are less fortunate than I and at other times I mash the A button like an addict to raise money for charity for the children. For the children! As I was raised, I always treat everyone with respect no matter who they are and though I may be from one of the more notorious cities of the state, I take it as motivation to show that being from a bad place does not define who I am and who I aim to be.
Basically, I’m just a chill dude just looking to make a difference in this world and become a better person from experiences and rise above the past.
What was your first gaming experience and how did it impact you?
My first gaming experience was when I was about 6-7 years old. Though I have tried video games out before I was that age, it was just pushing buttons and not really paying much attention to what was happening; it just amused me (as almost anything did at the time). However, that Christmas, my mother got me Paper Mario – The Thousand Year Door. Although me and her played the game together and took turns, it was honesty one of my fondest memories of gaming. Enjoying the game with my mother, being entranced by the colors, gameplay, and overall charm the game had, and actually playing it for myself were all just experiences that I cannot put into mere words. Those were some of the happiest moments of my life and playing the game not only gave me the blissful nostalgia that I have towards it today, it was also the moment that pretty much got me absolutely hooked to video gaming as a whole.
Your journey to Rutgers Esports; how did you find out about it, and what led you to be a part of it?
When I went to my first Rutgers Esports event, Scarlet Classic II, there was no Smash 4, only Melee and (maybe) PM. It really did be like that sometimes. Regardless, though there was no Smash 4 bracket I still had a good time playing a bit of Melee and mostly Smash 4 with the people I met from Scarlet Smash club meetings. It was there I met the soon-to-be president of Scarlet Smash (for Smash 4), John Macone who later ended up recommending me to join the Rutgers Esports organization as an officer seeing as how I would always come to club, participate, and provide my setup. I was hesitant at first due to fear of being unable to manage both that and my piling class work but I decided to go for it and I was not disappointed in the slightest. The organization was absolutely welcoming. I was given help all along the way with duties while still being able to help with Smash, and found comfort in knowing that everyone amongst the organization had the same passion for gaming and the same drive for greatness as I did. It has been about 3 years ago since I first joined Rutgers Esports and it was quite the ride in every sense but at the end of the day the org helped me grow in terms of organization, management, and experience while also giving me a haven where I can relish in my love of gaming like many others.
As Director of Community, what kind of role do you take on that differs from the regular board members?
As Director of Community Relations, I have the task of leading my committee in ventures in regards to advertising to the general populace outside of social media, making our names (Rutgers Esports) more known to the public, and searching for other organizations to collaborate with; all for the sake of making Rutgers Esports an organization that the entire student body of Rutgers will know and hear of. As such, the Director is in charge of planning out each stage of making each of these ventures happen and ensuring that they come to fruition effectively. In addition, the Director has to lead their committee members and ensure that each one not only are putting in their best efforts in furthering the committee’s overall mission and are doing their specified duties during major events, they also need to ensure that their committee members voices and ideas are heard. The Director has to be a leader above all else and one of the most important components of that is being respectful and understanding to their team such as being there for them, supporting them, and giving their ideas and proposals a fair listen as you never know when even the smallest idea can create a massive change.
What have you accomplished in your time with the organization?
- Became a Smash Representative for the Org.
- Became a member of the Social Media Committee (specializing Facebook)
- Assisted with numerous Rutgers Esports side events (Knightmare, The Yard, Fall Friendlies, IJAG, etc)
- Assisted with every Fireside Open since 2016
- TO’ed (Tournament Organizer) for Scarlet Classic III and IV
- Helped people move-in their (sweltering) dorms for Rutgers Esports
- Became Vice President of Scarlet Smash (Ultimate)
- TO’ed for Fireside 2018
- Became Director of the Community Relations Committee
- Flyer Infiltration
- Maximum Shilling
- Made like at least 100 Facebook posts for Rutgers Esports
- Advertised for Scarlet Classic V through tabling
- Successfully organized, planned, and ran a collaboration event with HerCampus
- TO’ed for Scarlet Classic V
- Primarily assisted with advertising Rutgers Esports for Rutgers Day
- Meeting all of the great people within the organization and Scarlet Smash that I know today
- Single-handed raised over $40 through Mario Party for the IJAG Charity
What kind of legacy/impact do you hope to leave by the end of your time with the organization?
By the time I leave the organization, I hope that those that wish to join the organization in the future and to the ones that takes my place as Director and VP of Scarlet Smash (Ultimate) will follow up on one piece of advice that I will pass on as my leaving legacy: Many people that have done the spectacular things that they have done and are known for (famous or not) were like you and me; had to pay tuition, do class work, faced tough times, and probably at one point were hesitant in trying something new or taking risks in fear of failure, back-lash, or inability. I was just like that before starting the organization and was like that for a good chunk of my life with certain things that have still persisted till even this day. Overall, know that if you have a passion for something, a drive for something, a feeling of strength and motivation towards something, anything at all, just go for it and shoot your shot. Don’t let fear deter you. Don’t let anxiety corrupt you. Don’t let opinions of others control you. Don’t let anything in or outside of the organization or job or profession that you are doing or want to do above all else stop you from doing what YOU GOT to do. Cause once you do, you may have just let a great opportunity slip you by and are left with regrets. Don’t let that happen to you. Don’t end up like how I was. Be better. I was blessed to realize, understand, and come to grips with my faults and I know not everyone get second chances but guess what? Make it so that you don’t need second chances, do what you gotta do and don’t let anyone, anything, or any feelings keep you away from something you feel genuine passion for. Live your best life, and do it happily and strong.
What are your plans for the future?
After I have graduated and after summer vacation, I will be returning to Rutgers University as a Graduate Student in the School of Social Work to get my Master’s Degree in the field while doing an internship or two on the side (one of which is for a homelessness/shelter/refugee/etc program). Then once that has been completed, I aim to job search for a profession that aligns to what I want to do (which is either doing therapy work for patients or becoming an officer/leader/Director of an exceptional Community Service Organization).
Fun fact/one thing that people don’t really know about you?
I can put my leg(s) behind my head and ate a whole White Castle Crave Case by myself.