Fort Collins ranks third nationally in per-capita Peace Corps volunteers, while Colorado State University once again ranks 15th among large universities (15,000-plus enrollment) in the number of volunteers currently serving in the Peace Corps.
Those figures, released this week by the Peace Corps from its headquarters in Washington, D.C., continue the area’s strong commitment to the international service and outreach organization that has its roots firmly planted at CSU.
“These rankings are a reflection of our history of involvement with the Peace Corps, which has led to the campus and community embracing this great organization’s mission as part of our heritage,” said Kathleen Fairfax, CSU’s Vice Provost for International Affairs. “We have faculty and staff who are former Peace Corps volunteers spread across campus, so our students benefit from active engagement with people who have already served.
“Honestly, the Peace Corps is part of our DNA, and that is reflected in these rankings.”
Fort Collins ranks only behind Charlottesville, Virginia – home of the University of Virginia – and Missoula, Montana – home of the University of Montana – in per-capita volunteers with 13.3 for every 100,000 residents. Fort Collins is the only Colorado city ranked in the top 10.
Fairfax said a large number of Peace Corps alumni live in Fort Collins and meet regularly. They actively recruit area residents to serve in the organization.
As for CSU, because of its many years of consistently ranking as a top producer of volunteers, the Peace Corps has designated two active recruiters on campus who work with both students and city residents. Erin Cubley, who served a two-year stint in Morocco from 2009-11, is working toward a Ph.D. in ecology at CSU while representing the Peace Corps.
“We have a very strong alumni group in Fort Collins that fosters awareness of the Peace Corps. I work not only with CSU students, but with area residents interested in Peace Corps service,” Cubley said. “Fort Collins is a special community where people are very engaged, so I was not surprised to learn we are ranked third.”
CSU, which currently has 48 students serving in the Peace Corps, ranks second in the state to the University of Colorado (12th overall) in the 2020 rankings; Colorado College ranks 13th among small schools (less than 5,000 enrollment). CSU is 11th all-time with 1,758 total students serving since the Peace Corps debuted in 1961.
Since its creation by President John F. Kennedy, the Peace Corps has been sending Americans with a passion for service abroad to work with international communities and create lasting change. CSU researchers Pauline Birky-Kreutzer and Maurice Albertson published a feasibility study that helped lead to the creation of the international development organization. To date, more than 220,000 volunteers have served in 60 countries.
Information about CSU’s connection to the Peace Corps is available online.