"Trumpicans" and progressives alike run in RUSA elections


Claudia Marconi

Claudia Marconi is a School of Arts and Sciences junior running as Busch At-Large representative. 

Her top priority is “hearing what (her) fellow students have to say and what they believe are the issues that need to be addressed.” 

Marconi said she believes that as a transfer student with an international background, she can bring a unique perspective to RUSA. She believes an “outsider’s” outlook could influence RUSA positively.

Brandon Chesner

Brandon Chesner is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student running as an independent and “Trumpican.”

Chesner’s top priorities include fiscal responsibility, school efficiency and individual liberty. But his campaign’s main focus is on the student’s first and second amendment rights. Chesner believes safe spaces and political correctness are “destroying our nation.” He also plans to “officially propose to allow firearm ownership on campus” within his first month in office.

Henggao Cai

Henggao Cai is running for a third term, having previously worked on issues such as access to affordable education and mobile device charging stations. He plans on tackling issues like college affordability, student philanthropy, transportation and public safety.

He said "hardship parking will be a process that allocates permits to students, whose schedules and transportation demands are significantly impacted by hardship circumstances, which are not limited to medical non-mobility issues, family obligations, internship/clinical requirements or significant extracurricular involvement.”

He is spearheading an initiative to help these students with hardship parking.

Abhishek Kondila

Abhishek Kondila is running for Class of 2020 Cook Representative and is a School of Engineering first-year student.

He said he "plans to update the classroom sizes for some of the chemistry classes to be smaller. This not only gives more attention to each individual student, but also decreases the number of students using office hours.”

Amanda Jones

Amanda Jones is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore running for Cook Campus At-Large representative.

Jones wants to work with University Communications to get students more involved with campus opportunities, especially focusing on attracting more students to athletic events. She would also like to give students more convenient access to tutors and academic assistance for classes.

Jones said she also believes the University should advertise its schools, majors and minors, as well as career options for graduates.

Helen Park

Helen Park is an Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy first-year student running for Class of 2020 Representative of Douglass Campus. She plans on addressing student safety and mental wellness. 

“Seeing how the alcohol culture is very prominent here at Rutgers, it would be very irresponsible as a potential member of RUSA to ignore the scene,” Park said. “Therefore, I would like to be part of initiatives and projects that promote student public and health safety.”

Alexander Bartke

Alexander Bartke is an Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy first-year student running for At-Large Representative of College Avenue Campus.

Bartke said he hopes to ensure that “sexual violence is eradicated on our campus.” 

He also calls for transfer students “to obtain equivalency credits for classes that they’ve already taken at other institutions.”

One policy he hopes to update is the medical amnesty initiative such that students “(are not) afraid of calling for medical assistance if their friends are in trouble from drug overdoses or alcohol poisoning.”

Aneesh Deshpande

Aneesh Deshpande is a Rutgers Business School first-year student running for the position of College Avenue representative of 2020.

Some of the issues Aneesh plans to focus on are implementing more gender-neutral bathrooms and amending the liability rules that come along with underage drinking. He feels that acknowledging Rutgers’ party culture and focusing on ensuring student safety is of utmost importance.

Aneesh emphasizes the need for a progressive mindset.

Kaavya Krishna-Kumar

Kaavya Krishna-Kumar is running for the Livingston 2020 representative and is a School of Engineering first-year student.

She hopes to expand “RUSA’s MidKnight snacks program to provide food and water to students on nights with heavy partying.”

Prachi Nair

Prachi Nair is running for the position of Cook Campus At-Large representative and is a School of Arts and Sciences junior.

Nair is “the only public health major running” for her position and plans to “tackle issues mainly surrounding sexual assault, since it is the most pressing issue on college campuses today.”

“It is difficult to draft a bill proposing change on an issue that one might not have a lot of knowledge about, especially an issue like sexual violence,” Nair said.

Samantha Booth

Samantha Booth is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student and is running for the Cook Campus At-Large representative.

She plans on working on “several advocacy initiatives to improve the facilities and maintenance of Cook Campus and other Rutgers entities” and on improved campus safety initiatives. She also wants to work on sustainability of policies regarding sexual assault on campus.

She hopes to build a stronger relationship between Rutgers faculty and students through transparency. 

Editor's Note: Independent candidates who did not respond by press time were not included in this article. A full list of candidates can be found online at http://ruassembly.com

Students can vote online between Sept. 26 and Sept. 27.


Bushra Hasan is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in cell biology and neuroscience. She is a staff writer for The Daily Targum. Follow her on Twitter @bushrafhasan for more.
Madhuri Bhupathiraju is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in cell biology and neuroscience. She is a staff writer for The Daily Targum. Follow her on Twitter @madhuri448 for more


Bushra Hasan

Madhuri Bhupathiraju

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