Last modified: Tuesday, March 5, 2002
IU among leaders in supplying alumni to Peace Corps
Indiana University Bloomington currently has 50 of its alumni serving as Peace Corps volunteers, a figure that places the campus in a tie for 10th among universities nationwide.
"They apply the skills and knowledge they acquired during their time at your institution to help improve the lives of many people in need. The important role these students play in promoting hope, opportunity and freedom cannot be overestimated in this time of adversity," wrote Lloyd O. Pearson, Peace Corps chief of staff, in a letter announcing the ranking.
Only two Big Ten universities -- the University of Wisconsin and the University of Michigan, which placed first and second overall in the 2002 rankings -- have more of their alumni serving in the Peace Corps than does IU.
"The Peace Corps looks for people with very broad human resources skills. They look for people who can think outside of the box, people who can be leaders, people who show steadiness and self-discipline," said Randall Baker, director of international programs for IU's School of Public and Environmental Affairs. "As a university, we have had a high percentage of the people who apply for the Peace Corps earn acceptance, which certainly speaks well for them as individuals and also speaks well for the university."
In his State of the Union address, President George W. Bush announced his intention to double the number of Peace Corps volunteers over five years as part of the new USA Freedom Corps initiative. As a result, Peace Corps Web site traffic and requests for applications increased more than 300 percent.
More than 165,000 volunteers have served in 135 countries since the Peace Corps was established in 1961. Today, more than 7,000 volunteers serve in programs to address business development, health and HIV/AIDS, the environment, education, agriculture and information technology.