Colorado State University recently ranked sixth university in the nation for Peace Corps recruitment and involvement, according to a press release made by the Peace Corps.
According to the CSU Peace Corps website there have been 1,666 alumni who have served for the Peace Corps since its founding in 1961. The university also ranks in the top 15 volunteer producing colleges of all time.
Katie Gardenier, assistant director for academic programs for the CSU Peace Corps, said the Peace Corps is a great place for students to get their first steps into government work as well as become integrated into and learn about a different culture.
“I think the peace corps is a great opportunity for graduates to learn about another country,” Gardenier said. “I think it’s one of the best ways that someone can integrate into another culture.”
Currently there are 54 CSU students that are serving overseas for the Peace Corps.
An interactive map on the Peace Corps website shows where representatives from CSU are currently serving. The countries range from different Sub-Saharan African nations to the islands around Indonesia.
Octavius Jones, a CSU Peace Corps representative, was once a member and participant in the Peace Corps program, serving in Botswana from 2011-2014 until becoming the CSU Peace Corps representative.
As a representative, Jones is in charge of recruiting CSU students as well as planning meetings and workshops for students that are interested in joining the program.
“I have always had dreams of traveling abroad and of being part of a global community,” Jones said. He added that being a member of Peace Corps made him realize that he could be a part of a force to make the world a better place, especially as a first generation student who came from a lower socio-economic background.
Jones urges students who are interested in joining to talk to a representative right away, as he believes it is never too early to get involved with the organization.
Jones explained that the Peace Corps experience for each member is very different. Jones said that it is not necessarily just about what you do while in other countries, but rather the relationships you make overseas.
“Your Peace Corps experience will be quite individual. The goal of Peace Corps is about relationship building,” Jones said.
Jones said that in the time we are living there is a much larger global community than some may know and that to understand it better people need to understand their culture and lifestyle by building relationships.
If students are interested in joining the Peace Corps, they can visit the the Peace Corps website to learn more about what they can do to join the organization on campus.
CSU Peace Corps will be putting on two different general informational meetings in the coming months if students are interested.
The first meeting will be held on March 28 from 5 -7 p.m. in the Lory Student Center in rooms 308-310. The second and final meeting for the semester will be held on April 20 from 2 -4 p.m. in the LSC room 322.
Students can also visit the official Peace Corps website to get more information regarding how to get involved.
Jones believes the numbers have been rising for recruitment due to changes in diversity in the world.
“I think partly attributed to the increase in numbers is recognizing the significance of having the diversity of America be represented within Peace Corps,” Jones said. “It’s imperative that all of us, as the American community, participate in showing that everywhere is diverse now.”
Austin Fleskes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MrPacMan80.