Rising two spots this year, Colorado State University is ranked sixth nationally on the Peace Corps’ annual Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list. The rankings, announced this week, reflect 54 Ram alumni currently volunteering worldwide, an increase of 11 from last year.
CSU is the only university in Colorado ranked among the top 10 in the Large Colleges and Universities category.
“We are proud of Colorado State University’s long history with the Peace Corps and our continued success in producing highly qualified volunteers,” said Rick Miranda, CSU provost and executive vice president. “This success is consistent with our land-grant mission to provide service to communities around the globe.”
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. Through their experience, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a lifelong commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy.
“The Peace Corps is a great way to put into practice so many things I learned as an undergraduate,” said Katie Aker, a 2014 CSU graduate currently serving as a Community Economic Development Volunteer in Peru. “The experience has allowed me to apply what I learned in the classroom, while demonstrating the value of my education and showing me how much there still is to learn.”
The 2017 rankings place CSU sixth among colleges and universities with more than 15,000 students, closely ranked with the University of Wisconsin–Madison, University of Washington, University of Minnesota, University of Michigan and University of Florida. The complete 2017 rankings of the top 25 schools in each category can be found on the Peace Corps website, along with an interactive map that shows where alumni from each college and university are serving.
CSU & the Peace Corps
CSU has a longstanding relationship with the Peace Corps, dating back to the organization’s establishment by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. CSU researchers Pauline Birky-Kreutzer and Maurice Albertson published a feasibility study that helped lead to the creation of the international development organization. Since then, 1,666 alumni from CSU have traveled abroad to serve as volunteers, and the university has been ranked in the top 10 among large schools each of the last three years.
“The Peace Corps has been a solid, unique bridge from my undergrad experience to future graduate school and career opportunities,” Aker said.
Service in the Peace Corps is a life-defining, hands-on experience that offers volunteers the opportunity to travel to a community overseas and make a lasting difference in the lives of others.
“Peace Corps service is an unparalleled leadership opportunity that enables college and university alumni to use the creative-thinking skills they developed in school to make an impact in communities around the world,” Acting Peace Corps Director Sheila Crowley said. “Many college graduates view Peace Corps as a launching pad for their careers because volunteers return home with the cultural competency and entrepreneurial spirit sought after in most fields.”