Elon ranks among top producers of Peace Corps volunteers for second year

Among medium-sized colleges and universities, Elon ranked No. 18 for the number of Peace Corps volunteers it produced in 2018.

Elon University is among the top colleges and universities based on the number of its graduates volunteering in 2018 for the Peace Corps, the government-sponsored service organization has announced.

Elon was tied for No. 18 among medium schools on the agency’s 2019 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list, with 19 Elon alumni currently volunteering worldwide and more than 130 having served all-time. Also ranking No. 18 on this year’s list with 19 volunteers were Boston College, Cornell University, DePaul University, SUNY-Binghamton University and the University of Chicago.

This is the second consecutive 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 now headed by Jennifer Eidum, assistant professor of English and a former Peace Corps volunteer.

Since 2013, Elon has offered a Peace Corps Prep Program for students planning to apply for the opportunity. Last year, Elon’s program was recertified and expanded the range of work sectors it prepares students for to include Agriculture, Community Economic Development, Education, Environment, Health and Youth Development.

Bob Minton ’18, who completed the Peace Corps Prep Program earlier this year and is now serving in the Education sector in Ukraine. 

Program requirements have also shifted to incorporate more than just a litany of classes. To receive the Peace Corps Prep Program certificate from the program, students must complete three courses in their chosen sector and also at least 50 hours of service in the sector. The number of classes required has been reduced and the service hour requirement has been added.

Students are also required to demonstrate intercultural competence through a range of experiences during their time at Elon as well as to show professional and leadership development.

“We have seen time and again that the colleges and universities that produce the most Peace Corps volunteers focus on cultivating global citizens in addition to promoting scholarship,” said Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen. “I am proud that so many graduates of these esteemed institutions leverage their educations to make the world a better place. They bring critical skills to communities around the world and gain hands-on, life-changing experience along the way.”

Elon alumni are now serving as Peace Corps volunteers in countries including Benin, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, Morocco, Namibia, Paraguay, Peru, Uganda,Ukraine and Zambia.

The Peace Corps ranks its top volunteer-producing colleges and universities annually according to the size of the student body. View the complete 2019 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.

Alumni from more than 3,000 colleges and universities nationwide have served in the Peace Corps since the agency’s founding in 1961. 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.