Austin Anderson has always felt a deep connection to passenger trains. “I consider myself an old-fashioned person,” says the Lakeland College graduating senior. “I think half the fun of getting somewhere should be in the journey itself, but we’ve kind of lost that concept with modern travel.”
A New Holstein native, Austin majored in writing at Lakeland. Ever since he arrived, he has expressed a strong desire to craft a magazine feature article about passenger trains. Now he has achieved that goal.
Austin’s article, “A Farewell Tribute to Soo Line 2719,” recently appeared in “The Soo,” a quarterly magazine published the Soo Line Historical and Technical Society. Austin has a unique connection to Soo Line 2719.
“I was there when Soo Line 2719 returned to active status in 1998, and I visited the engine on its final day of operation in 2013,” says Austin of the train, which was built more than 90 years ago. “I thought it fitting that I write about Soo Line 2719.”
On the day after this past Christmas, Austin received a copy of the magazine in the mail, along with a note thanking him for his contribution. His story, which he had sent in more than a year before it was published, is now proudly framed.
“It feels awesome,” Austin says of being published. “The editors at the magazine changed my introduction a little bit, but other than that, it appears just the way I wrote it. That’s a really nice feeling.”
Austin attended Lakeland thanks to a financial package that included a Wisconsin Grant. He’s written for The Mirror, the college’s student media outlet, and has demonstrated an improvement in his skills. “Being at Lakeland has helped me become a better writer,” Austin says. “My editing skills have also improved thanks to advanced composition and being with The Mirror.”
As Austin’s time at Lakeland comes to an end, he reflects fondly on his collegiate experience. Not only did he hone his craft in the writing program – he enjoyed non-fiction the best – he also enjoyed singing in the Lakeland choir for four years.
“It was a phenomenal experience,” he says of his time with in the choir. “I got to learn a variety of new songs and new languages. I’ll really miss it.”
Austin’s first experience with Lakeland was in middle school, when he attended summer music camp. Right then, he thought, Lakeland would be a great place to attend. “I’m glad I came here, and I really do love the friendly staff and faculty,” he said. “Everyone is always willing to help me. The classes have perfectly suited my needs. I took my non-fiction and fiction classes, as well as poetry and the other writing classes. But I also enjoyed art, music and the many other classes that fit the bigger cultural picture.”
Austin recently graduated in May and is now working as a correspondent for Tri-County Publications, based in Kiel. He also says of landing his first professional job: half the fun of getting there was in the journey itself.