Ohio State has again made the Peace Corps’ top 25 list of large universities nationwide producing undergraduate alumni volunteers. OSU is ranked No. 13 with 61 alumni volunteering, an increase from the 57 that served last year.
The influx in volunteers is not surprising. OSU has always been a source for volunteer work.
“Since the Peace Corps was founded in 1961, 1,534 OSU alumni have served in the Peace Corps,” said Christine Torres, spokeswoman for the Chicago Regional Peace Corps Office. “This actually makes OSU the No. 10 all-time producer of Peace Corps volunteers.”
OSU is also ranked first in the state for volunteers, she said.
In addition to its size, Torres said OSU’s programs make it a good match for the Peace Corps.
“A lot of the top programs at OSU also match up to the top programs at Peace Corps,” Torres said. “In that way it’s a great match for Peace Corps and that’s why we spend so much time focused on OSU.”
These programs include education, English, math, science and engineering.
Though 89 percent of volunteers have at least an undergraduate degree, Torres said a degree is not required. What is, though, is experience.
“They really need to have years or at least some solid skill sets or experience behind them,” Torres said. “Like someone who has operated or owned or managed a farm; maybe they don’t have the full four-year degree but they have very applicable skills in agriculture.”
The benefits for volunteers are plentiful, including graduate programs that allow for volunteer work and course credit at the same time. In addition, some programs offer tuition assistance to alumni who have finished service and are applying to graduate school.
Assistance also fully covers all living expenses, medical and dental services and transportation to and from the country while in service, Torres said.
There are personal benefits as well, said Jack Campbell, two-time Peace Corps volunteer and Peace Corps coordinator on campus.
“The personal satisfaction of helping others is huge,” Campbell said. “[There are also] travel opportunities by using vacation time of two days per month of service.”
Campbell said volunteers also get to develop leadership skills, international experience and life-long friendships.
For today’s society in particular, Campbell said the benefits of serving include job placement support and “expanding one’s mental vision of the world we live in.”
The Peace Corps ranks its top volunteer-producing schools annually according to student body size. Small schools have less than 5,000 undergraduates, medium-sized schools have between 5,000 and 15,000 graduates, and large schools have more than 15,000 graduates.
OSU came behind the University of Washington, which holds the top spot for large schools. It has 101 volunteers serving in the Corps.
To contact a local recruitment office or to learn more about the program, visit peacecorps.gov.