TACOMA, Wash. – University of Puget Sound has risen to the No. 5 spot among small colleges and universities nationwide in this year’s rankings of Peace Corps volunteer-producing schools. The national liberal arts college, based in Tacoma, Wash., has 22 undergraduate alumni currently serving in the volunteer program.
Puget Sound has placed in the top 10 each year since the Peace Corps started producing its rankings in 2001. Last year the home of the Loggers was No. 8 on the list.
In total 268 Puget Sound alumni have worked with the Peace Corps since it launched in 1961. Volunteers enjoy the benefits of extending their skills and experience in leadership and in becoming practicing global citizens. One Logger currently serving overseas, alumna LaRocha LaRiviere ’05, is a preventative health volunteer in Senegal.
“I want to work in global health, and serving as a Peace Corps volunteers was an excellent place to start,” LaRiviere said. “Many of the people I respect professionally are returned Peace Corps volunteers, and they strongly recommended applying. Spending two entire years living and working with a community is a unique and invaluable experience, and I found it very appealing.”
Many students say that the Peace Corps experience is a tremendous start to the next step in their life, be it a career, study, or public service. The proactive leadership experience provides them with a far better understanding of their place in the world, makes them more resilient and capable of handling challenges in their careers, and gives them the confidence and skills employers seek.
Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams said Peace Corps volunteers apply the skills and knowledge they acquired during their studies to promote world peace and friendship and to improve the lives of people around the world.
“Every day volunteers make countless contributions to projects in agriculture, education, the environment, health and HIV/AIDS education and prevention, small business development, and youth development,” he said. “I would like to extend my gratitude to all colleges and universities for their continued support of the Peace Corps and public service.”
The Peace Corps ranks its top volunteer-producing schools annually according to the size of the student body. Small schools have less than 5,000 undergraduates, medium-sized schools have 5,001 to 15,000 undergraduates, and large schools have more than 15,000. The rankings are based on fiscal year 2011 data as of Sept. 30, 2011, as self-reported by Peace Corps volunteers.
President John F. Kennedy launched the Peace Corps to advance living conditions in developing nations and to promote friendship between Americans and others from around the globe. Over the past five decades more than 200,000 Americans have answered the call to service and provided assistance to communities in 139 countries.
For a full list of the Peace Corp producing institutions visit: Peace Corps website.
To follow LaRocha LaRiviere’s blog from Senegal visit: http://thissenegaleselife.blogspot.com/
Photos on page: Top right: LaRocha LaRiviere '05 serving with the Peace Corps in Senegal. Above left: Senegalese health workers who are qualified to perform cervical cancer screenings at their local health clinics. Both photos courtesy of LaRocha LaRiviere.
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