Luther College students get real life experience in politics and policy in Washington, D.C.

August 16, 2019

How one student organization is shaping our nation's future leaders

Four Luther College students got a real-world experience in politics and policy this summer. The Luther College Platform Chapter took part in the Platform Convention 2019 in Washington, D.C. While at the convention, students heard from keynote speakers including New York Rep. Grace Meng, participated in policy panels led by experts in their field and met with staffers of congress on Capitol Hill to advocate policy.

Platform is a political training and lobbying organization dedicated to ensuring the voices of all, particularly women, are heard in the rooms where decisions are made. Their mission states, "We, the women of Platform, come together to ensure that our voices are heard in the conversations about our bodies, our lives and our futures."

Luther students, Hannah Stenoien '20, Hannah Gross '20, Anna Lavender '21 and Amelia Morrow '22, looked at this experience as an educational venture that provoked deep thought and opened up unlimited possibilities. Social work major, Hannah Gross, connected her time in DC to her Paideia 450: Migration and Border Issues course and passion for the social work field, saying there is a need for empathy within policy.

"I think social workers should be more involved in politics because they have a unique understanding of how policy truly affects the people they are working with," said Gross. "In this upcoming year I am excited to implement the tools and skills I learned at convention, not only in our Luther College chapter of Platform, but also in my social work courses."

Luther College Platform meets biweekly during the school year. In addition to meetings, the student organization leads or cosponsors events throughout the semester. Last year, Platform supported a letter writing campaign at the Rally Against Sexual Assault, hosted the cofounder of Platform, Jennifer Mandeblatt, and led a writing campaign on National Women's Day.

Platform chapter president, Hannah Stenoien, explains the impact Platform has had on her.

"Platform has shown me how policy effects my everyday life. It has provided me tools to understand and break down contested issues in today's society and has bolstered my confidence to advocate for the things I believe in. I am not a policy expert, but Platform has exemplified why I don't need to be one to make my voice heard."

Luther College is home to more than 2,000 undergraduates who explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 60+ academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at