Students seek post-graduate service in Peace Corps
Anna Boarini | Sunday, October 9, 2011
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps, the Center for Social Concerns hosted a unique networking event that brought together Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s Peace Corps alumni and prospective volunteers Friday in the LaFortune Ballroom.
2009 Notre Dame graduate Bill Warnock is currently serving with the Peace Corps in Alakamizy-ambohimaha, Madagascar. Warnock spoke with current students about participating in the Peace Corps.
“I work in a small enterprise development program, teaching management, marketing and accounting skills to artisans like basket weavers and painters,” he said.
Warnock also teaches information technology courses at a local high school in a computer lab he established and runs an English club for middle and high school students.
Warnock said he was not sure what he wanted to do after graduation, and the Peace Corps is a great place to learn about yourself.
“I was an accounting major and now most of my friends are working for a big firm, and I knew that really wasn’t for me,” he said. “Peace Corps is a pretty good place to find yourself. It gives you a lot of time for reflection and to think about what you want out of your life.”
Marilyn Blasingame, a current senior, applied for the Peace Corps.
“I’m really interested in the program and could learn a lot from it,” she said.
Blasingame is open to several places if accepted into the program, but hopes to serve in a Russian-speaking country.
“I’m really open to where I’ll serve, but I currently take Russian, and want to serve in a Russian-speaking country,” she said.
Deputy Director of the Peace Corps Carrie Hessler-Radelet said Notre Dame students make ideal Peace Corps volunteers.
“Notre Dame’s commitment to social justice, your commitment to community based learning, your commitment to research and study of humanity all contribute to the goals of world peace and encouraging service among your students,” Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “So I would say that Peace Corps and Notre Dame share the same guiding principles.”
The Peace Corps guiding principles are to help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women, to help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of people served and to help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans, she said.
“Today at the Center for Social Concerns, I was told that 10 percent of the Notre Dame population goes overseas in some type of service, and that’s incredible,” she said. “I don’t know another school that has such a high percentage of students that are that interested in international volunteering and service, and so it is exactly the same kind of students [the Peace Corps] wants.”