Colorado State University is ranked eighth among large undergraduate schools on the Peace Corps’ annual Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list for 2106. This is the second year that CSU has ranked among the top 10, with 43 Rams currently volunteering worldwide. The University also ranks among the Peace Corps’ top 15 volunteer-producing colleges and universities of all time.
“Colorado State University has always had a strong relationship with the Peace Corps, and we are proud of our sustained success in generating high numbers of volunteers.” said Jim Cooney, Vice Provost for International Affairs at CSU. “We are especially proud of this ranking, given that most of the other top ten universities have significantly higher enrollments than CSU.”
Since the agency’s founding in 1961, 1,634 Colorado State University alumni have served in the Peace Corps all over the world in jobs ranging from health and education to community development agriculture.
“I think a lot of the values that permeate CSU – environmentalism, social justice, global awareness – are on par with the philosophy of Peace Corps,” said Aaron Carlile, a Peace Corps Master’s International student who served in China. “I’ve met so many students on campus who say, ‘I don’t really know what I want to do, but I know I want to travel and to help people.’ I think the Peace Corps is an incredible opportunity to channel a lot of those desires into real action, and students here are making that connection.”
For the second year in a row, CSU also ranks in the top 10 among graduate schools, with 11 alumni currently volunteering. The state of Colorado also ranked No. 10 among Peace Corps’ top volunteer-producing states, and Fort Collins ranked among metropolitan areas with the highest number of Peace Corps volunteers per capita. This year’s rankings follow a 40-year high in applications for the Peace Corps in 2015.
“The Peace Corps is a unique opportunity for college graduates to put their education into practice and become agents of change in communities around the world,” Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “Today’s graduates understand the importance of intercultural understanding and are raising their hands in record numbers to take on the challenge of international service.”
“Peace Corps is more than just any program, it’s an outlet to become part of something larger than yourself and even larger than CSU,” said Deena Duwaik, a political science and international studies major who will be serving in Morocco after graduation.
CSU and the Peace Corps
CSU has a longstanding relationship with the Peace Corps that dates back to its establishment by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. CSU researchers Pauline Birky-Kreutzer and Maurice Albertson published a feasibility study that helped lead to the creation of the international development organization. Today, CSU has a dedicated Peace Corps Recruiter, located in the Office of International Programs, and offers several Peace Corps Masters International graduate degree programs.
“Opportunities offered through Colorado State University helped to foster my passion for service-learning,” said Kelsey Rex, a 2014 alumna currently volunteering in Malawi. “My service challenges me and forces me to grow every single day. I’m positive that I’ve become considerably more patient, more independent, and more open-minded.”
Celebrating 55 years
On Friday, March 4, the CSU Office of International Programs and Office of Engagement will host a reception for CSU’s Peace Corps community in celebration of the organization’s 55th anniversary. The event will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Long Peak Room. Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) currently working or studying at CSU are invited to attend and should RSVP in advance.