When John F. Kennedy challenged Americans with “ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country,” he soon followed word with deed and created the Peace Corps. The extraordinary request for peacetime volunteers made in JFK’s 1961 inaugural address has sent more than 220,000 people, mostly young college graduates, out across the world on education, health, environmental, and community development missions. In the Corps’ count of schools that have graduated the most volunteers overall, UCSB ranked 12th among large schools.
Since the early ’60s, 1,636 Gauchos have travelled the globe for world peace and friendship through the Peace Corps program. This year, 38 alums serve worldwide, placing UCSB 18th on the 2015 list of “most volunteers,” with the University of Washington at the top of that list with 72. The Corps stated in a press release that changes to the application made in 2014 — to allow applicants to choose their country of service and apply to specific programs — resulted in the highest number of applications in two decades.