Illinois might not be any good in basketball this year. But when it comes to the Peace Corps, the Illini haven't lost their touch. Illinois, with 41 grads helping out, checks in at No. 19 on the Peace Corps' annual list of volunteer-producing colleges and universities in the U.S. That's up four spots from last year's rankings — and a lot better for the university to spotlight than, say, Unofficial.
We bring this up because A) Peace Corps Week is Feb. 23-March 1; B) an information session for interested volunteers is at 6 p.m. today at the UI's Career Center, 715 S. Wright St., C; and C) 26-year-old Alissa Harvey, the UI's Peace Corps recruiter who is fresh off a three-year stint in the Republic of Georgia, is a cooperative type who wants to get the word out about a good thing. So we let her:
In 10 words or less, what's your pitch to convince us to join the Peace Corps
Peace Corps is an experience unlike any other.
What's it going to take for Illinois to get to No. 1 in the rankings?
A stronger dedication to volunteerism and international service, and the desire to commit to two years of service abroad.
When you recruit, what's the craziest question you've heard?
I would say that questions usually are not too crazy, just misguided. Sometimes there are misconceptions of what it means to be a Peace Corps volunteer and what the agency does.
Best thing about the Peace Corps is ...
The ability to really immerse yourself in another culture and community. You are challenging yourself and you will see how you react to different situations, how you adapt and how your expectations and perspective of what is around you changes.
The Top 25
College, followed by number of volunteers:
Ohio State 83
Colorado State 56
San Diego 54
Cal Santa Barbara 48
Michigan State 47
Arizona State 45
Penn State 42
Cal Davis 41
Cal Santa Cruz 41
Virginia Tech 39
Florida State 37
North Carolina 35
Boston University 35