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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Carleton fifth among small colleges to produce Peace Corps Volunteers

<r 22 Carleton alumni volunteered for the Peace Corps, moving Carleton up to the number-five feeder of Corps volunteers of all small colleges. A week ago, the Corps released its annual list of “Top Peace Corps Volunteer Producing Colleges and Universities”. Ahead on that list for colleges under 5,000 students are the University of Chicago with 34 alumni volunteers, Gonzaga University with 32, Willamette University with 27 and the University of Puget Sound with 26.

While the younger Carleton alumni share many beliefs about the PC with the older alumni, the younger alumni also host another source of motives that reflect a more career-orientated generation. A ’07 Carleton graduate and Corps volunteer speculates that practical reasons might explain why a Carl would commit two years of his or her life in community organization in Kazakhstan. “Field experience in the development arena [is] a common requirement for American jobs in the aid/development field,” she said. The Corps also offers an alternative path away from entry level jobs that are less and less appealing to Carleton student while still being a healthy experience and providing opportunities to pursue “professional goals.” Moreover, says an ’01 alumnus, the Corps provides the benefit of gaining better command of a second language.

On the other hand, an older alumnus, Amanda Rabinowitz, cited curiosity about different cultures, a desire to “gain new perspectives on the world,” and a quest to put “theory to practice” as explanations of the Corps’ attractiveness to Carleton students. Carleton students, says Rabinowitz, “seek situations that allow them to challenge their thoughts…[and] to move beyond their comfort zone.”
Many other alumni viewed the PC as a liberal’s dream; “For all its idealism, the Corps is pragmatic,” says Corps alumnus and Carleton Development Officer Patrick Ganey. The Corps gives you “a chance to actually do something…not big things, but small projects…that don’t make headlines.”
Alumni contribute to Carleton’s high number of Corps volunteers; the school’s culture of curiosity and sense of obligation; participation in the broader community; the diverse convocation talks; the abundance of study-abroad opportunities; and opportunities to step back and put ideas in a global perspective.

In 2007, Carleton sent 29 volunteers, making it the number-two producer for that year. Since its inception, Carleton has sent more than 400 Corps volunteers around the world.

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