A launch event this evening will mark the official arrival of the Peace Corps Prep Certificate program at UT and help students learn about service abroad.
The event, which coincides with Peace Corps Week, will begin at 6:00 p.m. in the University Teaching Center. Attendees will get to ask questions about the certificate before watching short films created by Peace Corps volunteers. Following the screening, there will be a panel featuring former volunteers who served in sectors including education and health in places such as Botswana and Tanzania.
“I tried to make sure it’s a wide selection … and part of the panel is to really get that perspective,” said Jacqui Stewart Hobbs, Peace Corps campus recruiter. “This will be particularly focused on, ‘What do you wish you’d done differently before starting Peace Corps?’ I want to make sure students have that opportunity to really hear from people who’ve already had their service of ‘I really wish I’d had more training in this’ or ‘If I’d done more volunteering in a certain different thing, that would’ve really helped me in my service.’”
The certificate, announced last fall, is awarded by the Peace Corps, not UT. It is open to all students and does not guarantee a position within the Peace Corps.
Michael Anderson, director of International Relations and Global Studies, said the certificate is “a very welcome addition” to campus.
“I hope … (the certificate) will reinforce what we’ve tried to emphasize for a long time, (which) is that global awareness only comes through direct engagement,” Anderson said.
A sizeable amount of students have shown interest in the certificate, said Michael Mosser, faculty adviser for the Peace Corps Prep Certificate. He also said he hopes students leave the launch event knowing they don’t have to declare commitment to the Peace Corps their first semester.
“We hope Peace Corps Prep … broadens the pool of people who have an interest in international service or … in community service projects … (or) in the kinds of qualities that somebody who might be a Peace Corps volunteer has but don’t necessarily want to be a Peace Corps volunteer themselves,” Mosser said. “We will broaden the scope of Peace Corps activities here on campus beyond just the formal Peace Corps program itself, and that’s how PC Prep fits into … what I think is kind of the holistic Peace Corps experience on campus.”