By Theresa Schliep
Fordham University has made the Peace Corps’ Medium Colleges and Universities list of Top Colleges 2017, landing at No. 20. While the university dropped from 2016’s No. 18, there are currently 18 Rams volunteering globally with the service organization, three more than last year’s list.
The university is two volunteers away from Boston College’s No. 13, as six universities land at No. 14 with 18 students volunteering with the Peace Corps.
“Peace Corps service is an unparalleled leadership opportunity that enables college and university alumni to use the creative-thinking skills they developed in school to make an impact in communities around the world,” said Peace Corps Director Sheila Crowley in a statement. “Many college graduates view Peace Corps as a launching pad for their careers because volunteers return home with the cultural competency and entrepreneurial spirit sought after in most fields.”
The Peace Corps lists schools according to their size. Medium sized colleges and universities have undergraduate enrollment from 5,000-15,000.
Since President John F. Kennedy created the Peace Corps in 1961, 452 Fordham alumni have served the organization.
American University topped this year’s medium colleges list with 54 volunteers.
In comparison to other Jesuit universities, Georgetown University is listed at No. six with 31 volunteers and Loyola University Chicago at No. 14 with 18 volunteers.
Chris Boland, FCRH ’16, is currently volunteering with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) in Phoenix, Arizona. His work placement is at St. Matthew Catholic School. Boland attended a Jesuit Catholic high school and was familiar with Jesuit service before arriving at Fordham. However, it was not until Boland joined Global Outreach (GO!) Nicaragua that he realized what he wanted to do upon graduation.
“I thought it would be a good idea to take some time to gain some real-world experience before sending out any applications,” said Boland. “By the time my GO! trip came around I was already considering JVC, and was about halfway through the application. Fordham’s GO! program actually borrows a great deal from JVC in terms of core philosophy, and so I figured that the trip would be, among other things, a good opportunity to see whether or not the the JVC lifestyle was one that suited me.”
Boland said that while the trip was a challenge, it solidified his plans.
“That trip was the most challenging week of my life, and at various points I was left feeling physically, spiritually, and emotionally broken,” said Boland. “I was hooked.”
Four of the 18 Fordham students volunteering with the Peace Corps are in Tanzania. Other countries include Morocco, Cambodia and Madagascar.
Boland credited his experience with JVC to Fordham and Global Outreach.
“I’m falling more and more in love with my job and my students at St. Matthew Catholic School every day, and it’s crazy for me to think that if it weren’t for Fordham and the Global Outreach program, I wouldn’t be here,” said Boland.