WOOSTER, Ohio – The Peace Corps ranked The College of Wooster No. 22 among small schools on its list of 2017 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities, the agency announced on Tuesday. Currently, there are nine Wooster alumni volunteering worldwide with the Peace Corps.
Wooster, which bumped up one spot from No. 23 in the 2016 ranking, has had 88 alumni serve as Peace Corps volunteers since the organization’s founding in 1961, and Harry Gamble, a member of the College’s Peace Corps Prep committee, thinks this upward trend will continue.
“For the past two years, we have been working to raise the profile of the Peace Corps on campus,” stated Gamble, chair of the French and francophone studies department. “The College’s Peace Corps Prep program has created an exciting new community for students who want to prepare themselves for service in the developing world. We’re continuing to build this program, so that it will be able to do even more to connect Wooster students with service opportunities abroad.”
One Wooster alumna currently taking on what the Peace Corps describes as a “life-defining, hands-on experience … to travel to a community overseas and make a lasting difference in the lives of others” is Lauren Gilliss ’13.
Gilliss is an environment volunteer in Zambia, where she promotes food security and income generation by creating tree nurseries, promoting conservation farming, and developing school and community gardens. She also led a Girls Leading Our World (GLOW) camp, empowering young girls via a week-long series of seminars on leadership, self-confidence, business, health, and other essential skills.
“Wooster promoted the value of ‘global citizenship’ throughout my college career,” explained Gilliss, who plans to earn a master’s degree in public health following her service. “Both my professors and classmates showed an interest and engagement in international affairs and the importance of understanding and appreciating diversity in many respects, including different cultures.”
The Peace Corps sends Americans with a passion for service abroad on behalf of the United States to work with communities and create lasting change. Volunteers develop sustainable solutions to address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment, and youth development. Since 1961, more than 225,000 Americans of all ages have served in 141 countries worldwide.