Sunday, January 18, 2009

Peace Corps Service: A Rite of Passage That Helps Others

Today I attended a “bon voyage” open house for a young man who recently graduated college. Yet he wasn’t off to explore the art museums of Europe or the cheap travel in countries such as Thailand. He was off to join the Peace Corps in Nicaragua.

Those of you who were “of age” during the Vietnam War remember the Peace Corps. It was a big topic of conversation during the army draft years. Yet I haven’t heard very much about this program in recent years.

Home from the open house, I went to the Peace Corps website to read about what it’s been up to in the last 40 years.

In a January 12th press release I read:
For the third consecutive year, the University of Washington is No. 1 on the undergraduate list in the large schools category, with 104 alumni serving as Peace Corps Volunteers. The University of Colorado-Boulder has risen dramatically from sixth place last year to claim the No. 2 in the large schools category, with 102 Volunteers. Michigan State University has also risen up two spots from fifth place last year to take the No. 3 rank among the country's large schools, with 89 currently-serving Volunteers.
Michigan State is where I earned my undergraduate degree in journalism, so I was impressed to see the school so high on this list. And I have to admit I didn’t realize how active the program continues to be.

Read the entire press release to learn which colleges have produced the most volunteers since the program’s founding in 1961.

And I wish this young man, whom I’ve known his whole life, a rewarding and fulfilling experience during his 27-month commitment.

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