Connect with us


Knights of the Raritan announces NIL deal focused on climate change



Alex Carlson is one of five student-athletes to sign an NIL deal focused on climate change. Photo credit Rutgers Athletics

On Thursday, the Knights of the Raritan announced the “first-ever climate change-focused name, image, and likeness (NIL) program” in a partnership with EcoAthletes. Five Rutgers University student-athletes — senior women’s gymnast Kaitlyn Bertola, sophomore BigTen 3,000-meter indoor track champion Alex Carlson, sophomore women’s lacrosse player Kelsey Klein, as well as sophomore women’s swimmers Halé Oal and Natalie Schick have signed NIL deals with KTR to “accelerate the push for climate action.”

The Rutgers NIL collective has launched several partnerships and programs since its inception. This includes making a commitment to signing every football and basketball player at Rutgers to NIL deals in 2023. This newest partnership to promote sustainability is both a tremendous cause and also another great opportunity to support current Scarlet Knights.

“Our main goal at Knights of The Raritan is to support Rutgers student athletes who are using their
platform to engage in their passions,” said Jon Newman, Knights of The Raritan executive director. “We’re honored to support “R” athletes and EcoAthletes in its mission to spur climate action globally.”

“EcoAthletes is thrilled to work with our five inspirational student-athletes Champions and Knights of
the Raritan to promote positive climate action at Rutgers,” said Lew Blaustein, founder and CEO of
EcoAthletes. “We believe that this partnership represents just the beginning of what can become a wave of climate-focused NIL deals. And we expect that executives who lead climate-active brands and nonprofits will look at the Rutgers program and see tremendous value in having authentic, climate- minded student-athletes endorse their climate-friendly products and/or programs.”

The program will empower the five student-athletes to “advocate for the much-needed #ClimateComeback through a combination of podcast interviews, social media posts and in-person speaking appearances on or near the New Brunswick, NJ campus. The podcast and social media posts will go live in April as part of EcoAthletes’ Earth Month programming. The speaking appearances will take place during the fall semester.”

The five Rutgers student-athletes are now part of 100-plus EcoAthlete Champions globally that includes professional athletes and Olympians.

“I was excited to become the first EcoAthletes Champion at Rutgers and now I’mthrilled to be part of
the first climate-themed NIL program,” shared Kaitlyn Bertola, who went from walk-on to captainof thegymnastics team. “While I’m graduating in May, I look forward to seeing what my fellowRutgers
Champions start doing this fall to build climate action on campus.”

“I’ve been passionate about making a positive difference on climate change since high school whenI
saw glaciers melting on an environmental leadership trip to Alaska,” Kelsey Klein, who plays defensefor
the Rutgers lacrosse team, offered. “Now, as an environmental policy, institutions, and behavior major, I
know that the time is now for real climate action. And as a student-athlete, I know I have a platformtoadvocate for it. That’s why this NIL program is so exciting — it will help me amplify my climate impact!”

“I am very passionate about advocating for those who are suffering climate injustices, specifically
underrepresented peoples like Native Americans, people of color, and the poor who are impactedmost
harshly by the impacts of human-caused climate change, as well as with biodiversity loss” said butterfly swimmer Halé Oal, a political science and environmental studies double major. “I want to take the opportunity provided me by the EcoAthletes-Knights of the Raritan NIL partnership to do what I can as a Rutgers student-athlete to help advocate for climate justice!”

“Many of my friends feel hopeless about climate change because they think the problems are so vast
and there is nothing they can do about it,” acknowledged backstroker Natalie Schick. “That is why I amso excited to be an EcoAthletes Champion and part of the Knights of the Raritan NIL program. It allowsme to use my platform to actually make a positive impact on climate change!”

“I am at the beginning of my climate advocacy journey,” said star middle-distance runner Alex Carlson. “What I do know is this: Humanity is behind in the climate game and needs to come back and fast. Being part of the Knights of the Raritan program and becoming an EcoAthletes Champion will allowme to quickly advance from ‘climate curious’ to ‘climate leader’. And that will help me help my fellowRutgers students and friends accelerate the #Climate Comeback. That’s a race we have to win!”

Thanks for reading the The Scarlet Faithful. For more Rutgers Athletics content from The Scarlet Faithful, follow us on Twitter and Instagram. You can also subscribe to our YouTube ChannelYou can subscribe to The Scarlet Faithful podcast on AppleSpotify, Pocket Casts and anywhere else you listen to podcasts. For advertising inquiries or to reach out directly, email at

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Lew Blaustein

    April 6, 2023 at 3:29 pm

    Thanks for covering the Knights of the Raritan-EcoAthletes NIL partnership and especially the five amazing climate-active Rutgers student-athletes/EcoAthletes Champions! As a proud Rutgers alum and the founder/CEO of EcoAthletes, I could not be happier to work w/ KOTR and the ‘Fab Five’ to spark the #ClimateComeback. Happy to connect you with any of them for future stories about their progress.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *