Evan Rush never expected that pressing a few buttons would result in the trip of a lifetime. But after clicking a “Like” button on Facebook and an “Enter to Win” tab, Rush will be traveling around the world – for free.
Rush won the contest through STA Travel, a student-focused travel company that provides discounts on airfare, hotels and other travel amenities. With 18 school locations, including one on the UC Davis campus, the company offers easy access to travel deals and contests with an array of prizes.
Rush, a first-year communication major, forgot that he had even entered the contest until he received an e-mail from the company.
“I forgot that I entered,” Rush said. “I thought that it was spam at first. I biked over to the office and they were like ‘No way, somebody from Davis won!’ They called the headquarters and then everyone started going crazy that I won.”
Rush’s prize consists of two tickets that will take him from Los Angeles to New Zealand, then to Hong Kong and finally to London before returning to Los Angeles. After learning that he had won, all Rush had to do was choose who to take with him.
Rush chose Benjamin Van Deusen, a friend from home and a first-year at Tufts University.
“Honestly, I still haven’t completely accepted the fact that I’m going,” Van Deusen said in an e-mail interview. “Besides being able to do something that I’m really passionate about, I think this trip will be an awesome insight into other cultures.”
Since Rush is already traveling to Brazil this summer, he decided to schedule his trip with Van Deusen for winter break of the 2011-12 school year.
And because the prize does not include an itinerary, Rush and Van Deusen can choose where they stay and what activities they do at each location. They plan to bungee jump in New Zealand and hope to spend New Year’s Eve in London or Hong Kong.
“I want to meet some people along the way, do things I haven’t done yet, eat food I haven’t eaten yet … all of the good stuff that comes with traveling,” Rush said.
Having been to Europe, Australia, Venezuela and the Caribbean, Rush is already an experienced traveler. Nonetheless, he hopes to become a better and safer traveler considering a recent trip to Spain.
“I was robbed in Spain by Spanish prostitutes,” Rush said. “It was an experience – I lost some money, but hopefully it won’t happen this time.”
Rush is the second UC Davis student to win one of the national contest prizes, but many other students have won prizes from contests run by STA Travel Davis.
Leigh Depeters, the store manager of STA Travel Davis, said that besides running contests and participating in on-campus marketing campaigns with Cal Aggie Athletics, the store uses Facebook as a way to reach out to students.
“For our local Facebook page we do monthly contests,” Depeters said. “If you ‘Like’ us, you can enter to win a travel voucher for money that can be used at any destination that students want to travel to.”
Though he has a while to wait, Rush is excited about the trip and considers himself lucky.
“I just have to say enter every competition you want, because you just might win,” Rush said.
The STA Travel Davis store can be found in the Memorial Union, Room 162.
RACHEL RILEY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.