U presence strong in Peace Corps

The University has increased its recruitment efforts on campus.
February 18, 2014

The University of Minnesota is a leader in producing Peace Corps volunteers. It’s tied for fifth in the nation for its number of graduate alumni volunteers and 10th for undergraduates — up 10 spots from last year.

Thirteen graduate and 57 undergraduate University alumni are currently volunteering throughout the world.

Learning Abroad Center Director Martha Johnson said the school’s alumni have a strong presence in the Peace Corps because of the University’s extensive outreach and informational resources.

A five-year overall decline in congressional funding has only made the program more competitive, but the University produces volunteers steadily.

Congress allocates funding for the nationwide program each year. Compared to 2010, nearly $21 million less was set aside this fiscal year for the Peace Corps.

The program has fewer available spots and the application process is more intense as a result, University Peace Corps representative Maryls Shelby said.

With recruitment efforts at their peak, Peace Corps volunteers and employees frequently host information sessions and booths on campus, providing students with resources about joining.

“The more people that apply from the University campus … the better our chances of getting people in,” Shelby said.

Acting Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radlet is speaking at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs on Tuesday. Regional recruiter for the Peace Corps Janice McInerney said Rep. Keith Ellison, DFL-Minneapolis, will also be attending.

Public affairs graduate student and member of the Peace Corps Ambassadors Jessica Brogger served three years in Ecuador and said there is always more the University can do to attract more volunteers.

“I certainly think we can move even further,” she said.

Still, Brogger said the University should take pride in the school’s high rankings. 

“I think it’s really exciting,” she said. “We have a lot of potential.”

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