UO ranks 12th in Peace Corps’ 2018 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities

On Wednesday, the Peace Corps released their 2018 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list, in which the University of Oregon ranked 12th.

The UO has been among top ranking universities for over a decade — 1,311 students have served in the Peace Corps since 1961, when the agency was established. This year’s ranking is based on the 55 UO students currently volunteering worldwide.

“Peace Corps service is a profound expression of the idealism and civic engagement that colleges and universities across the country inspire in their alumni,” said Acting Peace Corps Director Sheila Crowley.

Among states with the highest number of Peace Corps volunteers per capita, Oregon ranked fourth in 2017, and since 1961, more than 6,363 Oregonians have served worldwide, according to a press release from Peace Corps.

Currently serving as a Peace Corps health volunteer in South Africa, Gwen Cummings graduated from the UO in 2015.

“Oregon is a place that fosters growth in its students and encourages adventure and service,” Cummings said in the press release. “I think so many Ducks choose to become Peace Corps volunteers because they have the spirit to serve and the desire to experience new cultures and explore new places.”

Briana Whitehead, a UO graduate, served as a Peace Corps agroforestry volunteer in Ghana from 2014 to 2016, according to a 2017 Around the O article.

“It is the single most life-changing experience I have had,” said Whitehead. “Never again will I see the world in the same light. My self-worth and determination to make a difference in this world has gone through the roof.”

The Peace Corps also released an interactive map of volunteers along with the list on Wednesday.

“As Peace Corps volunteers, recent college and university graduates foster capacity and self-reliance at the grassroots level, making an impact in communities around the world,” said Crowley. “When they return to the United States, they have new, highly sought-after skills and an enterprising spirit that further leverages their education and strengthens their communities back home.”

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Rylee Kahan

Rylee Kahan

Rylee Kahan is a News Reporter for The Daily Emerald. She is a sophomore majoring in Journalism and loves late-night coffee runs.