WWU third on Peace Corps’ list of top volunteer-producing schools

Western Today staff

February 23, 2016

The Peace Corps released the 2016 rankings of the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities across the country, and Western Washington University was ranked No. 3 among medium-sized schools, with 41 alumni currently volunteering worldwide.

Western has ranked in the top 10 among medium-sized schools for over 10 consecutive years, including three consecutive years at the No. 1 spot.

“We’re proud to again receive recognition for the differences our Western students and alumni make around the world in the Peace Corps.  In fact, because we have so many students wishing to put their higher education to higher purposes in this way, we have started a new partnership with the Peace Corps to offer a more structured academic and community service program to prepare them for careers in international development,” said Western President Bruce Shepard.

“The ethic of service is deeply ingrained in Western’s DNA, and we hope that programs like this will help even more students put their active minds to changing lives locally and globally,” Shepard said.

The Peace Corps and Western in January announced a new partnership that will offer students a unique combination of undergraduate coursework and community service to prepare them for a career in international development. Western students will be able to apply to the new Peace Corps Prep program for enrollment beginning spring quarter of 2016.

Alumni from more than 3,000colleges and universities nationwide have served in the Peace Corps since the agency’s founding in 1961, including 960 Western alumni. Seven Washington schools rank as Top Colleges, earning the state the unique distinction of being among only 15 states and the District of Columbia with three or more ranked schools.

“I am really proud to hear that Western Washington University has been ranked again as a Peace Corps Top College,” said Alan Luan, Western alumnus and current Secondary Education English volunteer in the nation of Georgia. “I truly believe that the spirit of [Western] and the community of Bellingham inspire an immense passion for kindness and service to young adults.”

Jill MacIntyre Witt, Peace Corps campus representative at Western, said: "I am thrilled that Western remains consistently as one of the top-ranked universities, which is a testament to our students' commitment to service."

This year’s rankings follow a 40-year high in applications for the Peace Corps in 2015. This record-breaking number of applicants comes after the first full year that the agency’s historic application and recruitment reforms have been in place. Applicants will now find a simplified, more personal application process, and can learn more by reaching out to the West Region recruitment office at seattle@peacecorps.gov.

The Peace Corps ranks its top volunteer-producing colleges and universities annually according to the size of the student body. View the complete 2016 rankings of the top 25 schools in each undergraduate category here.