Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Peace Corps aims for new members

The University of Wisconsin Peace Corps attracted dozens of students to its kickoff meeting Wednesday, where a UW alumnus spoke of his experiences traveling to Russia as a community development volunteer.

Spearheaded by UW Peace Corps campus representative Greg Pepping, the session included an explanation of general eligibility requirements for participation, specific Peace Corps benefits and various testimonials.

According to Pepping, the corporation prides itself on its ability to help the people of other countries gain a better understanding of America's multicultural society.


Pepping said UW has had almost 2,800 students participate in the program since John F. Kennedy founded it in 1960. From that inspiration grew a federal government agency committed to world peace and camaraderie.

"Since then, UW has been one of the top volunteering universities in the country," Pepping said. "Last year alone, we had 106 people travel around the world with Peace Corps."

Aiming to promote world peace and friendship, volunteers serve more than 70 countries and provide practical assistance to countries that need it.

Pepping said the program is a 27-month commitment with 2-3 months prior to departure training in a classroom learning the language and culture of a volunteer's destination.

The agency also offers significant resources ensuring the health and safety of its many volunteers by providing additional information, support, and training.

According to Pepping, volunteering opportunities fall under six general categories, all of which are needed to fill a wide range of openings around the world.

"Volunteers can choose from education and youth development, health and HIV/AIDS, agriculture, environment, business development, and information technology," Pepping said.

Volunteers live in both rural and urban communities in which the housing accommodations vary greatly, but all meet the Peace Corps' standards for safety and suitability.

Wisconsin native and UW graduate Adam Goodberg, a recently returned Peace Corps volunteer who spent two years in Moldova, Russia, chose to focus on community development.

"I had always wanted to travel and see the world, and when I decided to join Peace Corps, it was a combination of everything I'd done in my life until that point," Goodberg said. "I wanted to experience language, travel, help people, and have an incredible adventure."

According to Goodberg, after spending two years living and working in one of the poorest countries in Europe, the most important thing he learned from Peace Corps was inner strength.

Pepping also spent two years overseas volunteering in Uganda from 2002 to 2004, and described the location as having "a thousand shades of green" and more than 100 million banana trees.

Pepping said that he spent the majority of his time building clean water sources for local villages.

There were 56 tribes in the area, he explained, and over three years, they built 43 clean water stations. With a week and $400, one more clean water source could be created for local families.

Volunteers also receive two vacation days per month of service, totaling 48 days over two years.

"Many use this time to travel to nearby countries, expanding opportunities for adventure and cross-cultural experiences," Pepping said. "I managed to go gorilla tracking in Rwanda, scuba diving in Kenya and boating on the Nile River in Egypt during my free time."

According to Pepping, if the idea of Peace Corps sounds interesting, but graduate school is priority, the Masters International Program is a good choice.

At 50 campuses nationwide, Masters International offers more than 85 programs in a wide range of fields.

The program incorporates Peace Corps service into a master's degree program at universities across the United States. After completing two years of coursework, a volunteer can serve overseas while receiving academic credit.

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