GW volunteers top Peace Corps rank for fourth year

GW ranked first among medium-sized schools for producing Peace Corps volunteers, a title it has now held for four consecutive years.

Seventy-eight undergraduate alumni serve in the Peace Corps, an increase from 72 last year. 

The second-place honoree in GW’s bracket, Western Washington University, has 73 alumni serving. American and Cornell Universities were also commended among colleges with undergraduate populations between 5,001 and 15,000 students.

The top-ranked schools in the large and small categories were the University of Colorado Boulder and University of Mary Washington, respectively. 

Peace Corps public affairs specialist Stephen Chapman cited an “emphasis on service” and “curiosity about life outside the United States” as the qualities that most often inspire students to volunteer.

“GW students embody both of those traits,” Chapman said.

Julie Hyman, who graduated in 2010 with a degree in journalism and mass communication, is volunteering with the Peace Corps to create a library in northern Namibia. She lives without electricity on a homestead with a host family, cattle, goats, donkeys and chickens.

“Going to school in D.C. definitely piqued my interest in all things international and allowed me certain internship and job opportunities that fed this interest,” Hyman said.

Hyman added that she was inspired to serve by First Lady Michelle Obama’s University-wide 100,000 hour service challenge, issued before she spoke at commencement last May.

“Students come to GW with a disposition to serve. Many students choose GW because they are interested in making the world a better place through service, policy or community partnerships,” Amy Cohen, executive director of GW’s Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service, said.

Since its founding in 1961, a total of 1,094 alumni have served in the Peace Corps. The program requires a 27-month commitment in any of 76 current host countries.

GW’s long-standing relationship with the organization was celebrated alongside the initiative’s 50th anniversary at an on-campus reception last fall, where Peace Corps director Aaron S. Williams thanked the University for its leadership in producing volunteers.

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