Story posted February 09, 2006
Thousands of college graduates travel across the globe every year to assist those they have never met as Peace Corps volunteers. Since the Corps inception in 1961, 226 Bowdoin College alumni have taken up the challenge and joined the ranks.
Bowdoin has recently entered the top-25 list of colleges and universities producing the most Peace Corps volunteers. For 2005, Bowdoin ranks at No. 20 for small schools (fewer than 5,000 undergraduates) with 17 alumni currently serving as volunteers. Per capita, Bowdoin ranks fifth for top-producing small schools, with one Peace Corps volunteer for every 98 students.
Bowdoin has always been a top producer of Peace Corps volunteers, according to Christopher Lins, the Peace Corps representative who visits campus five or six times a year to speak with students and present information sessions.
"Bowdoin students have a very good sense of themselves and know that they want to go on to make a positive contribution after college," says Lins.
Having studied abroad, where they've met Peace Corps volunteers and seen them in action, many Bowdoin students are also "proactive" about what they want to do and where they want to serve, says Lins.
Bowdoin alumni are currently serving in Bolivia, Guinea, Guyana, Kyrgys Republic, Mali, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Romania, Samoa, Thailand and Togo. Areas of service range from agricultural and environmental projects to urban and regional planning, and from education to health and community service projects.
"The willingness of so many people to use their degrees and life experiences to share with other cultures is a commitment no one should overlook," said Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez. "There is no single path to success. But those who leave a legacy in a rural village in Madagascar or a city in Ukraine know the impact that Peace Corps can have not only in that community but also on the remainder of their own careers."
To view the entire 2006 "Top Producing Colleges and Universities" list, visit the Peace Corps Web site.
Since its inception, more than 182,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/AIDS education and prevention, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.