Colleges and universities showed high levels of alumni commitment to global volunteerism in 2016, by making impressive showings on lists of top volunteer-producing schools recently announced by the Peace Corps. And the numbers reveal campus cultures that strongly support international study and understanding.
“Peace Corps service is an unparalleled leadership opportunity that enables college and university alumni to use the creative-thinking skills they developed in school to make an impact in communities around the world,” Acting Peace Corps Director Sheila Crowley said. “Many college graduates view Peace Corps as a launching pad for their careers because volunteers return home with the cultural competency and entrepreneurial spirit sought after in most fields.”
For the first time in three years, the University of Wisconsin-Madison reclaimed the top spot among top volunteer-producing large colleges and universities. There are currently 87 Badgers serving in 40 countries around the world. And UW-Madison has maintained its place as the second highest all-time volunteer producer with 3,239 alumni having served since 1961. Denison University topped the list of small schools, while American University came in first among medium-sized schools.
In fact, DC-area schools continue to have a strong hold on spots in the medium-sized colleges and universities category with American University’s across-town rival, George Washington University, ranking No. 3 this year. Georgetown University and Howard University earned the No. 6 and No. 14 spots, respectively.
For the 13th year, the University of Mary Washington also found a place on the Peace Corps’ list of top colleges among schools with fewer than 5000 undergrads, jumping six spots from its No. 8 ranking last year, all the way up to No. 2. In all, 253 UMW alumni have served the 27-month commitment since the Peace Corps launched in 1961.
Now serving in Kedougou, Senegal, in West Africa, Maura Slocum, came to Mary Washington for precisely that reason.
“I read that UMW had such a high number of alumni who go on to serve,” said Slocum, who discovered her passion for providing for others on a mission trip to Guatemala. “The University of Mary Washington was fundamental in my journey to the Peace Corps.”
Celebrating over a half century of promoting peace and friendship around the world, more than 225,000 Americans have served with the Peace Corps in 140 host countries. Although a college degree is not mandatory for service, relevant experience in areas such as education, health, business, environment or agriculture is required.
The Peace Corps’ eight regional offices, located across the US, recruit and provide information and guidance to prospective volunteers including current undergrads. Potential applicants can connect with local recruiters on the Peace Corps website.
And returning Peace Corps volunteers may receive support from the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program, which partners with more than 90 universities across the country. Among DC-area colleges and universities supporting this program by offering graduate fellowships are American University, Catholic University, the College of William and Mary, George Washington University, Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland-Baltimore, UMBC, University of Maryland-College Park, and Virginia Commonwealth University.
For more information on the Peace Corps or the Coverdell Fellows Program, visit the Peace Corps website.