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UCSB Peace Corps Volunteers
updated: Jan 26, 2012, 3:39 PM
UCSB Among Top 20 Campuses Producing Peace Corps Volunteers
(Santa Barbara, Calif.) -- UC Santa Barbara has moved up in the 2012 rankings of
colleges and universities that send the largest number of volunteers to serve in
the Peace Corps. UCSB is ranked number 16 among all large universities in the
nation, according to the rankings released this week.
With 70 alumni currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers, UCSB has moved up
from number 22 in 2011 and number 28 in 2010. In addition, UCSB is ranked number
12 in the nation among universities that have sent volunteers to the Peace Corps
since its inception in 1961, with 1,564 alumni having served.
"We take great pride in our UC Santa Barbara alumni who volunteer to serve in
the Peace Corps," said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang. "Their dedication, hard
work, and selfless service are a wonderful example of how UCSB students and
alumni help improve the quality of life for people around the world. Our campus
has long supported the ideals, values, and activities of the Peace Corps. The
fact that so many of our former students serve each year is a reflection of
their commitment to serve our country in the cause of peace by living and
working in developing countries."
UCSB currently has alumni serving in 36 of the 75 countries where Peace Corps
works. Graduates are working in the fields of agriculture, business, education,
environment, health, and youth development. And they are serving in countries as
diverse as Albania, Fiji, Madagascar, and Turkmenistan.
"Colleges and universities prepare thousands of talented undergraduate and
graduate alumni for Peace Corps service every year," said Aaron S. Williams,
director of the Peace Corps. "These alumni go on to serve as Peace Corps
volunteers, applying the skills and knowledge they acquired during their studies
to promote world peace and friendship, and improve the lives of people around
the world. I would like to extend my gratitude to all colleges and universities
for their continued support of the Peace Corps and public service."
Stephanie Gaffney, who graduated from UCSB in 2011 with a degree in
environmental studies and global studies, recently completed her training in the
East African nation of Tanzania, where she is working on environmental education
and sustainable agriculture projects. "My education at UCSB and various
volunteer internships have fueled my continued desire to teach and serve
others," Gaffney said.
The Peace Corps' Top Colleges report ranks colleges and universities according
to the size of their student body. The University of Colorado at Boulder led all
large institutions with 112 undergraduate alumni currently serving overseas.
Historically, UC Berkeley maintains the number one all-time rank, with 3,497
Peace Corps volunteer alumni. You may view all the rankings here.
Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)
2012-01-27 08:38 AM
I'm proud to have been among one of the first UCSB graduates to volunteer -- Costa Rica II 1963-65. It was one of the best choices I ever made -- I learned a second language, helped others learn English, widened my world view and discovered I really did enjoy being in a classroom. That led to 35 years teaching junior high school here in Santa Barbara.
I've been back to Costa Rica twice and it is hardly recognizable but the Ticos and their country are still beautiful. My little town -- Atenas -- has changed very little except for being more accessible and having a more reliable water and electricity supply.
2012-01-27 09:45 AM
Kudos @SBALAX and all the gallant Gauchos who have made this choice! Congratulations to UCSB on this fine record.
2012-01-27 11:12 AM
I'm a 1962 UCSB grad who couldn't volunteer as I was already a father. However, as an employee of the international NGO CARE I managed Peace Corps Volunteers on Colombia's north coast in 1965-1966 and had PCVs assigned to urban and rural community development programs I was responsible for in several other countries. Returned PCVs are one of our country's greatest resources for international understanding. The PC celebrated 50 years last September. Several thousand former volunteers and staff who had served in more than 140 countries converged on Washington, D.C. The P.C.'s budget is but a pittance of what the U.S. spends on the military. We need more PCVs and fewer soldiers around the world!
2012-01-27 05:01 PM
While it sounds like a good way to help out and see the world, the destinations aren't that pleasant as Costa Rica nowadays. It would be tough going from the beachfront of CA to places like Sudan for me so kudos to those who do.
2012-01-27 06:31 PM
The Peace Corps is no longer necessarily about "roughing it". Some volunteers are in urban areas while others continue to be posted to distinctly rural environments. It's a question of matching the volunteers to the need expressed by the host country.
There are currently volunteers in Costa Rica but their life is far removed from the luxury beach resorts and ecotourism. A bit further North volunteers have been recalled from Honduras because of dangerous and volatile conditions there.
If you feel you can give two years of your life to volunteer service -- no matter what your age -- look into the Peace Corps. Your life will never be the same afterward.
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