UVM Ranked High Among Peace Corps Providing Colleges

UVM is currently ranked 15 out of 25 mid-sized colleges on the Peace Corps annual list of volunteer producing colleges and universities.The Peace Corps is a volunteer organization that works in 74 countries around the world by collaborating with community members. Volunteers are placed in communities to work in areas of education, environment, youth outreach, community development and information technology.UVM is one of the highest-ranking universities this year in terms of recruitment, moving from their previous ranking of 38 to 15 this year.”UVM has not made the ranking list for producing volunteers since 2005, when they came in as 24th out of mid-sized universities,” said Amanda Richardson, UVM Peace Corps recruiter.As a mid-size university, UVM competes with schools like UNH, Notre Dame, Brown, Yale and Boston College for the highest number of graduates who become Peace Corps volunteers.It is not a Peace Corps requirement to be a college graduate, but currently 95 percent of volunteers have undergraduate degrees.”The Peace Corps provides a unique opportunity for graduates to use their education and skills and apply them in the real world,” Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter remarked. “I am proud that there are 1,192 institutions of higher learning currently represented by Peace Corps volunteers serving in 74 countries overseas.”According to Jeffrey Wakefield, UVM Spokesperson, “Since 1961, over 700 UVM graduates have joined the Peace Corps. Currently, UVM alumni are serving in Cameroon, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ghana, Guinea, Morocco, Niger, Ukraine and other locations on projects ranging from HIV/AIDS education to business advising and teaching English.”A total of 714 UVM alumni have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.”Many UVM students are interested in international study, volunteer work and community engagement,”said UVM Career Counselor Holly Wilkinson.The Peace Corps is an option that has given students an opportunity to develop these interests post graduation.”Given that they seek applicants from a large variety of fields of study ranging from engineering to healthcare, to business to liberal arts,” and because of this it is Wilkinson-Ray’s belief that “the Peace Corps can be a good fit.””As a state, Vermont produces the second highest number of Peace Corps volunteers per capita in the nation,” Richardson stated, “When I first came to Vermont to start my graduate program at UVM in the fall of 2007, the state held the title of second highest resident volunteers per capita.”The Peace Corps was formed on March 1, 1961. Forty-six years have passed with more than 190,000 volunteers serving in 139 countries around the world. To date, there are more than 8,000 volunteers abroad, which is a 37-year high for the organization.To become a Peace Corps volunteer you must be a U.S. citizen and at least 18 years old. The service is a 27-month commitment.”By joining the Peace Corps you will come back a more worldlier and compassionate person with a completely different outlook on the world and how you see yourself in it,” said Richardson, “It’s 100 percent worth it.”