To say that Evan Chartier ’14 is a nontraditional student is an understatement. After graduating from high school in Oak Park, Ill., and before coming to Colgate, Chartier spent two years serving in the Israeli army and then traveled throughout Africa.
Currently the co-president of Colgate’s Jewish Student Union, Chartier explained that he joined the Israel Defense Forces as an International Lone Soldier, which enables non-Israelis who meet certain criteria to volunteer.
“I can see myself living [in Israel] in the future, and I believe it’s important to have served when everybody else in the country, for the most part, has served,” explained Chartier, who is now 24.
He had visited Israel every summer since age 12, and first volunteered for the army the summer before his senior year in high school.
Chartier served from 2007 to 2009 as a member of the first response tactical team in charge of communications, GPS navigation, and nonlethal weapons. “I definitely feel a bond with the country being with the people [in that way],” he said.
In addition to working for Colgate’s Saperstein Jewish Center, the dual women’s studies and sociology and anthropology major dedicates much of his time to promoting positive sexuality.
Every Wednesday, Chartier is the student facilitator of the Yes Means Yes seminar, a five-week noncredit course that discusses healthy relationships and sexuality.
“We’re hoping to change the conversation and the culture [that can lead to] sexual assault, rape, violence, and even misunderstandings,” he said.
The globetrotter has traveled to at least 20 countries. As a Benton Scholar, he visited China and then continued on to Laos, Mongolia, and Thailand.
Last summer, he and his partner, Caroline Crawford ’12, went to Kenya and Uganda on a grant from Projects for Peace, which supports undergraduates who have grassroots ideas for building peace. Exploring the effects of foreign aid in the Lake Victoria area, Chartier and Crawford recorded more than 100 interviews with community members and composed them into YouTube videos.
Considering all his campus involvements (he’s also on the Student Conduct Board and is helping to form a new women’s studies group), Chartier considers his work with the Outdoor Education Program the most fulfilling.
“Keeping me in nature and having access to the resources — maps, gear, local knowledge — has given me a sense of place,” said Chartier, who works at the rental center and leads the spring break backpacking trip to the Smoky Mountains. “Whether it’s going to the Adirondacks or to Little Falls to go [rock] climbing, being able to give other people a sense of place is a pretty awesome experience to share.”