Elon ranked among top producers of Peace Corps volunteers

Among medium-sized colleges and universities, Elon ranked No. 16 for the number of Peace Corps volunteers it produced in 2017. Last year, Elon Law launched a new fellows program to help returned Peace Corps volunteers become lawyers. 

Elon University is among the top colleges and universities based on the number of its graduates volunteering for the Peace Corps in 2017, the government-sponsored service organization has announced. Elon ranked No. 16 among medium schools on the agency’s 2018 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list, with 18 Elon alumni currently volunteering worldwide and 127 having served all-time.

This is the first year Elon has ranked among the top medium-sized schools, which are those with between 5,000 and 15,000 undergraduates. The university, among the smaller institutions in its category with about 6,000 undergraduates, rose to prominence largely due to its Peace Corps Prep program headed by Steve Moore in the Department of Environmental Studies.

Since 2013, Elon has offered a Peace Corps Prep Program for students planning to apply for the opportunity. Elon students taking part in the program complete courses in environmental science, food security, green design, global awareness and foreign language. They also must incorporate 100 hours of volunteer service into their degree plans. 

“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.”

North Carolina ranks No. 12 among states with 230 volunteers currently serving and 4,505 serving all-time.

​Alumni from more than 3,000 colleges and universities nationwide have served in the Peace Corps since the agency’s founding in 1961, and Elon recently launched a program to support those Peace Corps volunteers have completed their service. In 2017, Elon Law and the Peace Corps partnered to offer a special scholarship program for returned volunteers to serve their communities as lawyers through the new Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program.

“As Elon undergraduates, we are required to complete various ‘learning experiences’ in order to graduate. A few include volunteerism, study abroad, internship, and language studies,” says Elon alumna Katlyn Tovar, who is serving in Costa Rica as a community economic development volunteer. “The ones that inspired me the most to continue as a global citizen while serving others was my study abroad term and my volunteer service throughout my senior year. The emphasis on study abroad helped me realize the importance of cultural awareness and gave me the desire to share my unique experiences with people who wouldn’t be presented with the same opportunities I had lived.”

Tovar says her inspiration came from the book “A World without Poverty” by Grameen Bank founder Muhammad Yunus that she read prior to her freshman year at Elon. “After I finished the book, I learned of a thing called ‘social entrepreneurship’ and the many ways to make an impact in this world while respecting and being conscious of global citizens,” she says. “I was drawn to making a sustainable impact on a micro-level, and knew that during my lifetime, that was my calling.”

The Peace Corps ranks its top volunteer-producing colleges and universities annually according to the size of the student body. View the complete 2018 rankings of the top 25 schools in each category here and find an interactive map that shows where alumni from each college and university are serving here