By Helena Battipaglia Syracuse, N.Y. (NCC News)- A school that had a measly seven volunteers in the Peace Corps in 2013 recently earned itself a number two spot on the organization’s 2014 Top Volunteer- Producing Colleges List for small schools. This year, seventeen SUNY ESF students volunteered for the Peace Corps, and Regional Representative Dove Russo says this is a really significant spike in student involvement.
At her Peace Corps recruitment booth stationed at the ESF Gateway Center, Russo said it makes sense that more SUNY ESF students in particular are choosing to become volunteers.
“It’s not really surprising they were able to make such a huge jump,” Russo said. “Many students here are interested in the environmental and agricultural aspects of what Peace Corps volunteers do overseas, so it’s kind of a natural fit, and it’s very exciting that they are taking advantage of these opportunities.”
Russo said that the Peace Corps’ mission is broken up into three different goals, including capacity building, cross-cultural communication, and spreading the word about volunteer experiences in various countries. She said that volunteers currently serve in 64 countries around the world, and recently, more volunteers are working in small business and NGO development.
“This involves working individually with people in communities,” Russo explained. “At times, it also involves working with various women’s groups to really help them build their businesses.”
Russo said this is what she did back when she was a Peace Corps volunteer. She describes the volunteer experience as “life changing,” and hopes the organization will continue to attract more volunteers.