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As students anticipate celebrating the approach of the end of the fall semester, the Peace Corp is planning to celebrate having 2,000 CU alumni serving in its organization since 1961.
For more information on the Peace Corps
Peace Corps info meeting
Wednesday, Nov. 15
7-9 p.m., HUMN 1B80
According to a news release by the Peace Corps office in Denver, CU is ranked third this year in the list of colleges providing top Peace Corps volunteer recruitment. CU is tied with the University of California at Berkeley with 81 recruits in 2006.
“People are so much more socially conscious here, and I think it is sort of the mindset of the students here,” said Stephanie St. Clair, a CU campus Peace Corps representative. “They want (to) volunteer, and they want to take action.”
According to St. Clair, fall is a popular time for applications because it usually takes nine months from the time students apply to when they actually get accepted. Consequently, students who want to go volunteer right after they graduate usually apply this time of year.
“It’s mostly seniors that are applying right now to go right after graduation,” St. Clair said.
Peace Corps is a 27-month commitment, not including three months of training. St. Clair said that though they have a strong presence in Africa right now, there are volunteers in 75 countries. There have been volunteers in a total of 135 countries since John F. Kennedy founded the organization in 1961.
“What is interesting about the application process is that you don’t really know where you are going until the very last steps of the process when you get accepted and get an invitation to a country,” St. Clair said. “Then you have 10 days to accept or reject that invitation.”
Due to the Peace Corps priority of meeting the needs of countries, applicants cannot directly choose where they want to go volunteer. According to St. Clair, applicants are placed depending on their skills and experience. They are placed where they can do the most for a country.
Because of this, there is no specific country that the majority of CU Peace Corps volunteers go to. Due to diverse majors and specialties, CU volunteers are scattered all over the world.
St. Clair returned from two years of service in the Peace Corps in the Republic of Georgia in May. Her favorite motto from the Peace Corps is “the toughest job you’ll ever love.”
“It’s tough, but you really learn a lot about yourself. I think the most important thing I came back with was confidence in my capabilities,” said St. Clair. “Something that was really challenging for me was balancing being culturally sensitive but also maintaining my own identity.”
St. Clair says that she ended up loving the country that was chosen for her, and wouldn’t know what to do if she wasn’t in the Peace Corps. She has fond memories of the life-changing bonds and relationships that she formed with other volunteers and citizens of Georgia, she said.
“We’re looking for people who are mature and can work well independently,” St. Clair said about what the Peace Corps is looking for in an applicant.
She also stressed that flexibility, experience and volunteer work were important.
“I’m really interested in volunteering for the Peace Corps after my senior year, but I think it will be hard to not know where you are going,” said sophomore anthropology major Ashley Sargant. “It is important to meet the needs of the country rather than my preference though, so it is completely understandable.”
Alexis Ward, a junior international affairs major, is planning to apply to the program next year as a senior. She was impressed by the fact that people are willing to give up all they are used to travel to less fortunate countries and help people.
“I want to help people and make the world better and more stable. I also want to change the way America is seen in other countries in the world,” Ward said.