Rutgers Rise

Meet Evan Covello and Christie Schweighardt, the President and Vice President candidates on the Rutgers Rise ticket in the upcoming RUSA elections! Get to know Evan and Christie before the polls open! Remember to vote starting on March 22!



How did you become involved in RUSA?

Evan Covello: I became involved during my first year at Rutgers. I’ve always loved student government and working on issues that matter, so I knew right off the bat that I would love to be a part of RUSA and represent students.

Christie Schweighardt: I joined RUSA the second semester of my freshman year. I went to a lot of club meetings throughout my first year here at Rutgers and finally went to a RUSA meeting, where I felt like I was part of an organization that did amazing things for our school.


What has been your favorite part of being a member of RUSA thus far?

EC: During my time in RUSA, and over the past year as Vice President, I have seen a lot of the problems that students go through at Rutgers. I love that RUSA has given us a way to help solve these problems.  One of my favorite moments in RUSA was helping to run the student campaign to get President Obama to give our 250th Anniversary Commencement Speech.  Through RUSA, I was also able to help run two national mental health campaigns with the Big Ten Conference. Not only has RUSA given me the opportunity to work on issues that matter, but it has really broadened my perspective as well.

CS: Seeing all of the progress that is possible when students work together and aren’t afraid to take those big, scary steps. It unfortunately takes a lot to get things done or changed here at Rutgers, but RUSA has done amazing things by not being afraid. In the past as Mental Health Task Force Chair and as Chief of Staff this past year, I have had the unique opportunity to play a part in a lot of huge projects, and it has been really great to see everyone’s ideas come to fruition.



What compelled you to run on a ticket together for the main RUSA positions?

EC: Throughout our time in RUSA, all three of us have worked together on a number of different issues.  We work well together, and we have actually become very close friends.  With that said, we are also never afraid to challenge each other.  With the problems that we see on campus, our experience, and our great bond, we decided to run together and form Rutgers Rise.

CS: In our three years on RUSA, we have all worked together in a number of different capacities. We all bring something different to the table and challenge each other’s views and ideas. Working together so extensively has helped us grow as leaders and has given us a shared vision of how to improve Rutgers.


What aspect of your agenda are you most excited about?

EC: I’m very excited about the agenda we have put forward.  Some of the biggest parts of it are ending sexual violence, improving mental health services, and promoting a stronger sense of inclusivity on campus.  These are issues that students care deeply about, and we have outlined ways in which we will address them in our platform.

CS: I am most excited about continuing our push for students to practice safe drinking habits. That has been one of the most proactive RUSA projects in recent years and we have plans to expand that program. I also look forward to further expanding the Medical Amnesty policy that RUSA helped implement in order to allow more students to help each other in medical emergencies. Student safety is huge priority and the best way to keep students safe is by being proactive.


What are your plans if elected?

EC: There are several initiatives we plan on taking on when elected: We plan on addressing and ending the residence life mandated reporting policy, in order to better support survivors.  We also will continue to advocate for the Campus Accountability and Safety Act.  We will work to create the Scarlet Knight Support Network, which will connect students to more resources and to each other, and will help to create a strong culture of support here at Rutgers when it comes to mental health. Inclusivity is also a broad issue that affects students in many different ways,  and one initiative we have been working on is to make menstrual hygiene products free for all students.  That is an ongoing project that we will continue to fight for in collaboration with several student organizations.  With our experienced candidate for Treasurer, we plan on fixing the student organization funding crisis, which has caused our clubs across campus to lose significant parts of their budgets.  We have a very strong platform that our team is committed to executing on the other important issues we face on campus as well.

CS: Our plan is to be proactive. A lot of what RUSA does is reactive to the different problems that students face throughout the year and we want to change that. We already have our foot in the door for a number of different things we want to accomplish next year, and on the first day we take office we will hit the ground running. For example, we will continue the push and negotiations for free menstrual products that began this year.  And in everything that we do, we will ensure that students are united, working together, and have a seat at the table.




What makes your ticket and your candidates different from the rest?

EC: I believe that Rutgers Rise has a significant amount of experience, and accomplishments that makes us an exceptionally qualified and dedicated team. There are several areas which we have addressed in a way that makes us unique.  Rutgers Rise is the only team in this election that has supported free menstrual hygiene products, having a University Holiday on Election Day, and addressing the lack of student organization funding.  Additionally, we are unique by being the only team demanding the University to test the water for lead, and fighting for a student vote on the Board of Governors to help give students the voice that we need to get tuition under control.

CS: Rutgers Rise stands out to me because we are made up of 60% women, with two of the ‘top 3’ positions being filled by experienced women. We are also a ticket that knows how to cut through the red tape that has been put in place by the Rutgers bureaucracy. There are a lot of steps that need to be taken in order to get things changed here at Rutgers, but everyone on this ticket has experience in taking those steps.


Why should the Rutgers student body vote for the Rutgers Rise ticket?

EC: Now more than ever, we need a student government that is ready to put words into action. We have a powerful agenda, and a team that is ready to execute it on day one.  We live in the most divisive political and social climate in history, and we need student leaders that are ready to protect students and fight for the issues they care about.  I believe that the Rutgers Rise team is ready to take on the challenges that students will face going forward.

CS: Rutgers students should stand behind Rutgers Rise because when we say we want to do something, we will do it. Our platform is full of tangible ideas that we have already started to work on. We are not just saying things that we think sound appealing to the student body, we are saying things that we can AND will do if we are elected. We are ready to take on every challenge.


Is there anything else you want you want the students of Rutgers to know?

EC: This campaign belongs to the students of Rutgers.  We are confident that the ideas we have put forth will get great support from the student body, because they all are meant to strengthen the student voice and improve the Rutgers experience.  We encourage you to check it out yourself! Go to and take a look at our agenda. Check us out on Facebook @RiseRU2017. We would love to hear your feedback, and you are welcome to reach out to [email protected].

CS: Fellow Rutgers students, I know how hard it is to see through the political fog that usually appears during any type of election, but I promise you that I genuinely want to be there for you in every capacity.



Photos Courtesy of Rutgers Rise