— Gustavus Adolphus College is known for being a service-learning heavy institution, where students are encouraged to not just learn about global issues, but become involved.
That turned out to be the perfect fit for Erin Luhmann, a 2008 graduate, who credits her time at Gustavus for feeding her love of development work and joining the choir of voices raising awareness about social justice issues worldwide.
Luhmann’s passion for journalism and past experiences abroad are part of the reason she was selected as the New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof’s “Win-a-Trip” contest winner out of 700 applicants.
In Kristof’s blog post about choosing Luhmann, he said the trip will take place in summer or fall and could be to such locations as Congo, South Sudan and Mali. During the trip, Luhmann — pursuing a master’s in journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison — will blog for The New York Times website and produce videos, as well as update social media sites.
“I’m excited,” she said.
Kristof began the contest in 2006 when he offered to take a university student on a reporting trip to a neglected area in Africa. The goal has been to encourage student interest in issues related to global poverty.
“Frankly, it’s always frustrating as a journalist that global health and nutrition don’t get more attention, and I figured that a contest would help arouse some buzz,” he wrote in his post.
Luhmann didn’t need the contest to stir interest in such topics. After graduating from Gustavus, she went on for two years to teach English in Kyrgyzstan with the Peace Corps. She has also traveled to Egypt, Ukraine, Jordan, Ireland, Russia and China.
Luhmann had been following Kristof’s writing for years, and friends had sent her the information for his contest previously.