Peace Corps Service on the Rise

A recent study shows that UCSD students are increasingly following up their four years of college with two years of service in underdeveloped nations.

The study, conducted by the Peace Corps, recently ranked UCSD in the top 25 large universities whose graduates sign up to serve.

Currently, 38 UCSD alumni are participating in the Peace Corps, placing UCSD 20th in the nation.

“”The Peace Corps is a great opportunity for personal growth and a way to experience another culture,”” said Sandy Kim, the Peace Corps regional recruiter at UCSD.

Nearly 500 UCSD alumni have participated in the 37 years since the program was founded by then-President John F. Kennedy.

The high turnout may stem in part from the general education undergraduate courses at colleges such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Thurgood Marshall, where students explore the relationship between different people, cultures and nations.

Kim sees a connection between potential volunteers and college students.

“”A lot of the students come from Eleanor Roosevelt College, where there is a global emphasis,”” Kim said.

Charles Baque, acting director of the Peace Corps, announced the findings.

“”Through their volunteer work overseas, Americans throughout this country are able to learn more about the world in this era of globalization,”” Baquet said.

Baquet served with the Peace Corps in Somalia during the `60s.

Kim noted that “”great motivation, leadership and a strong desire to make a difference”” are common qualities that UCSD students entering the programs share.

The University of Wisconsin at Madison leads the country in sending alumni into the Peace Corps, with 93 graduates currently volunteering.

Second in the country is the University of Colorado at Boulder with 74.

UC Berkeley is the only other UC school in the top 25. It ranks third, with 70 alumni currently volunteering.

“”The strong showing of colleges from so many different parts of the country illustrates that many students today are solidly dedicated to service and deeply value the unique experience the Peace Corps offers,”” Baquet said.

Peace Corps volunteers participate in a number of various community-building activities such as fighting hunger, developing clean water and teaching local children.

As these countries become more advanced, volunteers provide computer support and even help to create small businesses.

Because of the diverse nature of projects, students of all majors volunteer for the program. The Peace Corps needs volunteers with skills from engineering to economics to natural sciences.

Currently, there are over 7,000 Americans working overseas to help improve communities in 137 countries around the world.

The traditional notion of the Peace Corps serving remote areas of the Third World is changing.

According to Kim, central Asia and the former Soviet Union have an increasing need for volunteers.

More information on the Peace Corps can be found at the Volunteer Connection at UCSD or on the Internet at

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