The Wisconsin Idea is a concept most students hear about during their time at the University of Wisconsin. But many students rarely hear about other students who fully embrace the idea.
UW ranked No. 1 on the Peace Corps 2017 list of Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities, according to a news release, and UW alumnae Laura Linde is one of those volunteers.
Linde is currently in Nicaragua serving as an environmental volunteer and science teacher in elementary schools.
Graduating from UW in 2014 with a degree in chemistry and environmental studies, Linde said in the statement she hoped to help promote safer environmental practices by working for a non-governmental organization in the future.
“Serving in the Peace Corps stems from The Wisconsin Idea, which is taking the experiences and knowledge I learned at Madison and applying them beyond the state borders,” Linde said.
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Linde is one of 3,239 alumni and 225,000 Americans who donate their skills and time to the Peace Corps to help develop different areas in the world.
Volunteering abroad through the Peace Corps allows volunteers and UW alumni to travel to more than 60 countries. They are then able to contribute to communities in areas like agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health and youth development.
While volunteers are allowed the opportunity to travel through the Peace Corps, they are also able to participate in technical training at the start of service, Guido Podestá, vice provost and dean of UW’s International Division, said in the statement.
“These volunteers are gaining leadership skills, intercultural competency and a greater understanding of the world we live in,” Podestá said.
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Along with Linde, 87 other Badgers are currently serving abroad through the program in countries like Botswana and Fiji.
While oceans away from campus, UW volunteers still continue to work to spread the “proud tradition” of public service, Chancellor Rebecca Blank said in the statement.
“Not only do our graduates make meaningful contributions in communities around the world, they gain valuable knowledge and leadership skills that will remain with them for a lifetime,” Blank said.