Peace Corps and IC

Last year 11 Ithaca College graduates joined the Peace Corps, bringing to 125 the number who have volunteered since President John F. Kennedy began the organization in 1961.

Volunteers serve in developing countries throughout the world, creating and developing self-sustaining projects in numerous disciplines such as education, community development, information technology, agriculture, health education, HIV/AIDS education and awareness, environmental awareness, and business development. The new volunteers are in Togo, Malawi, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Honduras, Thailand, the Philippines, Kiribati, Morocco, and Moldova.

The Peace Corps mission is not only about helping countries develop and thrive, but also about promoting a better understanding of Americans abroad and other peoples in the United States. John Fracchia, assistant director for employer relations at IC, says the growing trend towards volunteer services indicates that “students are seeking work that has meaning.”

James Obarowski ’05, currently serving in the west African nation of Burkina Faso as a small-business adviser with the Peace Corps Small Enterprise program,  sees his small but influential role in Burkina Faso as empowering. “The other volunteers here and I have found Peace Corps service in West Africa a test of character,” he says. “But we aim to pass that test and return to the United States with a greater understanding of other cultures and of ourselves.”

—Alex Meril ’07