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Peace Corps Seeks Qualified Volunteers

February 27, 2006

Several Arizona State University students, faculty and staff have been involved in the Peace Corps at some point in their careers. But what many don't know is that there is a Peace Corps office within ASU, which is based at the Polytechnic campus.

The Peace Corps is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year, and Feb. 27 kicks off Peace Corps Week. The organization is always looking for qualified volunteers.

The Peace Corps is an American governmental agency that sends volunteers to countries all over the world who have requested assistance in their development efforts. Currently, more than 7,500 volunteers serve across 75 countries. The Peace Corps offers six different program areas - Education and Community Development, Health and HIV/AIDS, Environment, Business Development and Information Technology, Agriculture, and Youth programs. The Peace Corps is a 27-month commitment, including three months of intensive in country training along with two years service to a community.

In order to be eligible, a volunteer needs to be 18 years old and a U.S. citizen. A degree is not required, however, applicants need to have at least three to five years of significant work experience in one of the above program areas.

What are the benefits of joining the Peace Corps?

The biggest benefit of the Peace Corps is the volunteers make a difference and help others in any of the Peace Corps programs. Other benefits include student loan deferment and/or partial cancellation; travel to and from country or service; full medical and dental care; a monthly living allowance; language, cross-cultural and technical training; 48 paid vacation days; and "home leave" for family emergencies. If that's not enough to want to join the Peace Corps, they include a $6,000 readjustment stipend upon completion of service, one year of non- competitive eligibility for federal jobs, and professional benefits including language fluency, international experience and cross-cultural understanding.

How do I join the Peace Corps?

The Peace Corps application process takes between six to 12 months. The application process is extremely thorough in order to best match the applicant's skills to a community's needs as well as to take into consideration the applicant's potential medical needs. To apply for the Peace Corps, there is an online application that includes three references (one personal, one work supervisor, and one volunteer supervisor reference) and a medical status review.

The ASU Peace Corps representative is Melanie Thurber. Her office hours are from noon to 2 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday at the Polytechnic campus in Wanner Hall Room 140A. Office hours on the Tempe Campus are held each Tuesday by appointment. On the first and third Tuesday of each month, a Peace Corps information table will be set up on one of the malls on the Tempe campus, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Each month there are informational meetings at the Memorial Union on the Tempe campus; refer to the ASU Peace Corps Website for information on times and places.

To contact Thurber, e-mail or Melanie Thurber, or call (480) 727-1107.