UO remains among Peace Corps' top volunteering schools

A Peace Corps volunteer working on an agricultural project in Africa.

The UO ranks No. 12 among large schools on this year’s list of the Peace Corps’ top volunteer-producing colleges and universities. There are 55 Ducks currently volunteering worldwide.

The Peace Corps annually ranks its top volunteer-producing colleges and universities according to the size of the student body. The UO has ranked among the top schools for more than a decade, reaching No. 16 in 2016 and No. 11 in 2017. This year, it is the only Oregon school in the top 25 of its category.

Since the agency’s foundation in 1961, 1,311 UO alumni have served in the Peace Corps.

Gwen Cummings, who graduated from UO in 2015, is currently serving as a Peace Corps health volunteer in South Africa.

“Oregon is a place that fosters growth in its students and encourages adventure and service,” Cummings said. “I think so many Ducks choose to become Peace Corps volunteers because they have the spirit to serve and the desire to experience new cultures and explore new places.”

Service in the Peace Corps allows college graduates to volunteer in a community abroad, working with local leaders to tackle issues in education, health, agriculture, environment and economic development.

“Peace Corps service is a profound expression of the idealism and civic engagement that colleges and universities across the country inspire in their alumni,” said acting Peace Corps director Sheila Crowley. “As Peace Corps volunteers, recent college and university graduates foster capacity and self-reliance at the grassroots level, making an impact in communities around the world. When they return to the United States, they have new, highly sought-after skills and an enterprising spirit that further leverages their education and strengthens their communities back home.”

The agency’s website has the complete 2018 rankings of the top 25 schools in each category and an interactive map that shows where alumni from each college and university are serving.