It seems nearly every story in the news today is either a negative political story or a tragedy of some sorts.
Over the course of the past two years, I have frequently offered my thoughts on stories revolving around politics and somber events that have occurred both domestically and internationally.
Given all the negativity that the news covers on a nightly basis, I thought it’d be refreshing to reflect on a positive piece of news.
For the second year in a row, according to campus news, the University of Wisconsin has claimed the top spot among large schools for the Peace Corps’ 2018 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list. This is the second year in a row UW has been the top producing big school in the country, and the fourth straight year we’ve been in the top five.
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“The University of Wisconsin-Madison continues to have a strong and important partnership with the Peace Corps,” Chancellor Rebecca Blank said. “The Peace Corps offers an experience that will benefit [our students] both personally and professionally.”
By their own definition, the Peace Corps is “a service opportunity for motivated changemakers to immerse themselves in a community abroad, working side by side with local leaders to tackle the most pressing challenges of our generation.”
Life in the Peace Corps could not be further from life here on campus. Volunteers are put in a world that doesn’t even resemble life in America. Contact with the outside world is limited, and you are completely immersed in the mission. Volunteers don’t pursue this cause for the money, but because they believe in the work they are doing and are happy to be doing their part.
It’s amazing to see that students here at UW embrace the importance of public service. Depending on how you view the world today, choosing to start a career through service might seem disheartening. Why would someone want to serve in a world or for a country they aren’t particularly proud of?
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It is because of that very question that service now is more important than ever. America is many things, and absolutely perfect is not one of them. No nation is perfect, but students showing the ability — and desire — to commit to a cause greater than themselves is no doubt inspiring for our generation and shows that we’re willing to actually try to tackle our problems — not run from them.
Service comes in many shapes and sizes, and the Peace Corps does invaluable work that often goes unnoticed and unappreciated here at home, given the nature of the work they do. Taking on the challenges the Peace Corps presents its volunteers with is no easy task, and it’s worth giving credit to UW where credit is due.
The faculty at this university do not take their roles lightly. Regardless of degree, students leave this institution with a greater understanding of the world, the necessary skills to think critically and a unique ability to problem solve both in an individual and group setting. All of these skills transfer flawlessly into volunteer positions, politics, the military and other positions of service.
The world at home and abroad has reached a level of complexity previously unknown to society. Tackling its challenges will be an uphill battle, but it’s unquestionably reassuring to see students here on campus willing to sacrifice opportunities in the private sector and do their part in the beginning stages of their careers to help improve this world.
Mitch Rogers ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in economics.