In today's troubled economy, money is no easy thing to come by. Similarly, winning $10,000 based on one's wit and a sense of dedication to the college community is scarcely heard of.
However, two student bloggers at the Universityÿof Arizona, have defied the odds and done just that.
On April 7, the Arizona Desert Lamp, created by political science senior Evan Lisull and economics senior Connor Mendenhall, won America's Future Foundation's College Blogger Contest and received a $10,000 prize.
Since its creation in August 2008, the Arizona Desert Lamp has provided a medium for the often sardonic and self-proclaimed ""wonky commentary"" of Mendenhall and Lisull, both former Arizona Daily Wildcat employees.
""The Desert Lamp is a continuation of the work we started at the (Arizona Daily) Wildcat,"" Lisull said. ""ASUA is certainly a favorite subject, however, we cover a wide variety of material.""
The blog is made even more unique due to the fact that Mendenhall is currently studying abroad at Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey and still manages to keep up to date with the events of the university.
""It's not too hard to keep up with the UA news as long as I have internet access,"" Mendenhall said via email. ""Istanbul is a big city, and I've had no problem staying connected. I've actually even written posts from Mardin, a city in the far southeast near Syria.""
Mendenhall and Lisull's topics range from coverage of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, to tracking and commenting on campus ""reefer busts."" ÿ
""I think our most important current project is the Arizona Reefer Review, which documents marijuana arrests on campus, Mendenhall said. ""Enforcing drug laws on campus is a massive waste of police resources, taxpayer money and student time.""
According to the AFF Web site, the purpose of the second annual Blogger competition was to encourage the spread of ""liberty-minded"" blogger journalism on college campuses nationwide.
Mendenhall and Lisull beat out an impressive field of competition for the grand prize that included student blogs from Columbia University and Yale University.
""It was a big honor to win the competition especially considering the quality of the other blogs,"" Lisull said.
In the future, both bloggers plan on continuing their coverage of the University of Arizona into the summer and fall.
""Currently, we are working on a project that would bring in some outside voices for essay-length discussions of ÿ'big picture' issues - stuff like the role of 'social justice' in academia, how technology will change the universit and whether college is really worth it,"" Mendenhall said.
""As long as there's news at the University of Arizona, we'll keep blogging about it.""