(Adapted from a Peace Corps press release)
For the fifteenth year in a row, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has earned a spot on the Peace Corps’ annual list of the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities across the country. With 36 graduates currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers, the university ranks at No. 20 among large schools. View the entire top 25 rankings for each school size category here.(pdf)
Since the agency was created in 1961, 2,014 Illinois alums have served overseas, making it the No. 7 all-time producer of Peace Corps volunteers.
“The Peace Corps provides an indispensable opportunity for young people out of college to put their unique skills to work making a difference for communities around the world,” Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “Volunteers make lasting change by living and working at the grassroots level in their communities of service and using their talents to tackle some of the most critical challenges in international development.”
Illinois alumna Dawn Bangert of Chicago currently serves as a youth development volunteer in Botswana. She works at her community’s primary school as the librarian and teaches English literacy, self-esteem and HIV/AIDS awareness. In May 2013, three months prior to arriving in Botswana, Bangert graduated from Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in history and gender and women’s studies.
“(Illinois) provided me with a plethora of opportunities to learn about different people and new places,” Bangert said. “These experiences whetted my appetite to learn more outside of the classroom setting. I am also grateful to the (university’s) social issues theater department, which made me believe that community mobilization leading to social change is possible.”
Service in the Peace Corps is a hands-on leadership experience that offers volunteers the opportunity to travel to the farthest corners of the world and work on sustainable development projects related to agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health and youth development.
Graduating college students who are interested in volunteering are encouraged to browse open programs and apply by April 1 for assignments departing fall 2015.
Peace Corps has an on-campus recruiter to provide information about applying for service. Alissa Harvey, who served in Georgia, can be reached at 217-333-0203 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone interested in learning more can join the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/UIUCPeaceCorps, drop by office hours or attend one of these upcoming Peace Corps Events:
- Information Session, Wednesday, Feb. 18, 6 p.m., 715 S. Wright St
- Women in the Peace Corps Panel, Wednesday, March 4, 7 p.m., The Women’s Resource Center
- Info Table, Tuesday, March 17, 5:30 p.m., Illini Union Room 210
- Information Session, Wednesday, April 1, 6 p.m., 715 S. Wright St
- Information Session, Wednesday, May 6, 6 p.m., 715 S. Wright St
To learn more about the Peace Corps at Illinois, visit The Career Center website.