The Peace Corps has announced its annual listing of the colleges and universities that have the most alumni serving as volunteers in its ranks. The University of Washington and the University of Florida tied for the top spot this year with 107 graduates working in the Peace Corps.
Historically Black College and Universities are not well represented on the list of schools that send a lot of graduates to the Peace Corps. This year there are 21 graduates from Howard University in Washington, D.C., working in the Peace Corps. This is 2.6 times the number of the HBCU that ranks second. Morehouse College has eight graduates in the Peace Corps. Spelman College in Atlanta ranks third, with five graduates in the Peace Corps.
The Peace Corps is trying to increase the diversity of its volunteers. A survey conducted several years ago found that only 3 percent of Peace Corps volunteers were African Americans. More than 40 percent of all Peace Corps volunteers serve in Africa.
In 2012, the Peace Corps entered into an agreement with Alpha Kappa Alpha, the oldest African American sorority in the nation, in an effort to increase the number of African Americans who volunteer with the Peace Corps. Carrie Hessler-Radelet, acting director of the Peace Corps, states, “Historically Black college and universities equip students with the skills necessary to make a difference overseas through Peace Corps service. Volunteers with diverse backgrounds bring unique cross-cultural experiences to the communities they serve and help promote a greater understanding of all Americans.”