Western second among medium-sized universities in Peace Corps volunteers

A Peace Corps volunteer explains the nutritional benefits of sesame seeds to children in Senegal. Western Washington University ranks second in 2012 in the number of alumni currently serving as volunteers. Photo courtesy of the Peace Corps.

WWU alumna Stephanie Van Cleave is serving as a health volunteer in Turkmenistan. Photo courtesy of the Peace Corps

Western Today staff

Western Washington University ranks second among medium-sized colleges and universities with alumni serving as Peace Corps volunteers in the 2012 rankings.

This is the highest ever ranking for Western. Last year, the university was ranked third among medium-sized colleges and universities.

“Western graduates foster thriving communities throughout our state, nation and world. This Peace Corps ranking shows the commitment of our alumni to make a difference and to give back to others,” said WWU President Bruce Shepard.

Since the inception of the Peace Corps, 847 Western alumni have served as volunteers; 73 Western alumni currently are serving.

In the rankings for medium-sized schools, George Washington University tops the list, followed by Western, American University, Cornell University and the University of Vermont. And Western also has more alumni serving than a number of notable schools, including Boston College, Georgetown University, University of Notre Dame, Syracuse University, Tufts University, and Brown University.

WWU alumna Stephanie Van Cleave is serving as a health volunteer in Turkmenistan. “I was motivated to join Peace Corps because it’s a great opportunity to gain professional and multi-cultural experience, travel, and to challenge the way you think,” Van Cleave said. “Two years is a long time to commit to living in a foreign country but it is a short time to commit to improving yourself in ways not acquirable in the States.”

Colleges and universities are ranked according to size of the student body. Small schools are those with less than 5,000 undergraduates, medium-sized schools are those with between 5,001 and 15,000 students and large schools are those with more than 15,000 students. To view the entire list, visit the Peace Corps website.

Other highly ranked schools in Washington include the University of Washington, ranked second among large schools.