University ranked number 13 on Peace Corps list

Avery Blasko, Contributing Writer

On Feb. 21 the Peace Corps announced the 2018 list of Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities. The agency ranks the colleges and universities annually by how many volunteers each school produces according to student body size. This year the University was ranked No. 13 among small size schools. The University has 12 students volunteering through the agency worldwide. Other liberal arts institutions that also have 12 volunteers include Carleton College and Eckerd College. The University has volunteers in Guatemala, Indonesia, Mongolia, Morocco, as well as many other countries. Since the Peace Corps’ founding in 1961, the University has had 288 alumni serve. The state of Pennsylvania itself also has a large number of volunteers, ranking No. 8 with 296 volunteers around the world.

The goal of the Peace Corps is to promote world peace and help Americans understand other cultures, and vice versa. The agency is especially appealing to college students and alumni because “Peace Corps service is a profound expression of the idealism and civic engagement that colleges and universities across the country inspire in their alumni,” Acting Peace Corps Director Sheila Crowley said. Crowley was a County Director in Romania and then Indonesia until 2015, before becoming the Acting Associate Director of the Peace Corps’ Office of Volunteer Recruitment and Selection. She became the Acting Director in January of 2017. “As Peace Corps Volunteers, recent college and university graduates foster capacity and self-reliance at the grassroots level, making an impact in communities around the world. When they return to the United States, they have new, highly sought-after skills and an enterprising spirit that further leverages their education and strengthens their communities back home,” Crowley said of the connection between the Peace Corps and college students.

Gavin McGovern is a 2015 graduate of the University. He is currently serving in the Peace Corps as an English teacher and teacher training volunteer in Indonesia. He said that the “classic liberal arts” education one receives here at the University is what inspires so many people to volunteer in the Peace Corps.

“Bucknell allows the opportunity for students to cast a wide net and not be constrained to one single idea. The University surrounds you with people who want to learn more, to broaden their horizons and seek what is out there beyond the immediate confines of the campus. Professors especially help in stirring students’ academic imagination” McGovern said. “The fun one has at Bucknell gives a sense of wanting to do more and provide something when in the real world.”  

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