Peace Corps partners with Elon for new program

The Peace Corps Prep Program will help students gain additional skills and knowledge necessary for international service.

Elon President Leo M. Lambert formalizes a partnership with the Peace Corps as (from left) Steve Moore, Alison Morrison-Shetlar, and Chris Gilson observe.


Elon University has partnered with the Peace Corps to introduce an academic and service program that even better prepares students for careers in international development.

The partnership was formalized in a Friday morning signing ceremony between Elon University President Leo M. Lambert and Peace Corps representative Chris Gilson. The university is just the sixth school in the nation to host the Peace Corps Prep Program, organizers said.

“At the core of an Elon education is the idea that we are preparing global citizens to work for the common good,” Lambert said after the Feb. 22 signing in the Williams Conference Room inside Powell building. “This new program just embodies that ideal … and we are delighted to deepen our long-standing partnership with the Peace Corps.”

Students taking part in the program will be required to complete courses in environmental science, food security, green design, global awareness and foreign language as well as 100 hours of volunteer service into their degree plans.

Although participation in Peace Corps Prep doesn’t guarantee that applicants will be accepted as volunteers, officials said, the specialized curriculum and experience should make them strong candidates for service. There are currently 14 Elon University graduates serving as Peace Corps volunteers worldwide. Since Peace Corps was established in 1961, nearly 100 Elon alumni have served as volunteers.

Elon University President Leo M. Lambert, left, with Chris Gilson, a representative for the Peace Corps

“Elon has been a leading producer of Peace Corps volunteers over the years relative to other schools in the country of its size,” Gilson said. “This is an opportunity to provide students who have an interest in becoming Peace Corps volunteers with a means to work toward that objective.”

In attendance at the ceremony were Provost Steven House, Associate Provost Tim Peeples, and Alison Morrison-Shetlar, dean of Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences.

Also present and seated next to Lambert was Steve Moore in the Department of Environmental Studies, the faculty member who led the charge to create the Peace Corps partnership.

More than 210,000 Americans have volunteered through the Peace Corps, in 139 host countries, dating to its founding. Today, just over 8,000 volunteers are working with local communities in 76 host countries in agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health and youth in development.

Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment and the agency’s mission is to promote world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries.

“Elon University encourages its students to make a difference by becoming global leaders through community service and international study,” said Acting Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. “Elon couldn’t be a better fit for the Peace Corps Prep program. We are thrilled to welcome them as a partner as they continue to encourage their students to consider Peace Corps service.”

For more information about the program, contact Steve Moore in the Department of Environmental Studies at

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