Peace Corps rep visits campus this week

By Shannon Houston

Life after college can be life-changing in and of itself, but what if that transition includes changing the lives of others? The Peace Corps is one way for students to travel the world and make a difference through civic engagement.

“It is an opportunity to see the world and do impactful work,” said Sarah Kassel, SOU’s Peace Corps representative. “It is an opportunity to make lifelong friends.”

Kassel explained that as SOU is already a campus focused heavily on civic engagement, the community and the environment, the Peace Corps can serve as an outlet to further involvement in all those areas. Kassel will be on campus from October 8-10 to share information with students about the benefits of joining the Peace Corps, as well as discussing recent changes to the application process that may incentivize more students to get involved.

The process has been shortened significantly, now taking roughly one hour to complete compared to eight hours in the past. Students now will also have the option to choose where they would like to live and what programs they would like to be a part of, unless they volunteer to be matched with a program anywhere based off of a needed skillset. In addition, students will have clear dates to determine whether or not they have been accepted into a program through an “apply by ___/know by___” system.

Students who join the Peace Corps spend two years overseas working in fields such as agriculture, youth in development, health, education, and several others. Programs are offered in countries in The Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, South America, Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the Pacific Islands. A map of what countries currently have active programs can be found here.

The two years spent in the Peace Corps serve as professional experience that can lead to graduate school benefits and federal hiring preferences. While in the Peace Corps students will also receive the benefits of loan deferment, stipend money, and complete medical coverage.

Kassel herself served in the Peace Corps from 2004-2007 in Micronesia, and she says the experience changed her life.

“I learned to think and work differently and see the world in a whole new light,” she says.

Kassel will be at an info table in the Stevenson Union from 12 p.m.-3:30 p.m. on October 8, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on October 9 and 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m. on October 10. In addition, Kassel will be available by appointment at Boulevard Coffee from 4 p.m.-6 p.m. on October 8, with appointments made via email at skassel@peacecorps.gov. There will also be a campus presentation in SU 219 at 4 p.m. on October 9.

For more information on the Peace Corps, visit www.peacecorps.gov.

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