Colorado College has tied for seventh place this year among the Peace Corps top volunteer-producing colleges, with 11 CC alumni serving. Colorado College is tied with Smith College, Spelman College, St. Lawrence University, Evergreen State College, and Oberlin College in the small colleges and universities category.
Small colleges are defined as those with fewer than 5,000 undergraduates; medium-size schools are those with between 5,001 and 15,000 undergraduates; and large institutions are those with more than 15,000 undergraduates.
American University, with 54 volunteers, was first in the medium-size category, and University of Wisconsin-Madison, with 87 volunteers, was first in the large institution category. The figures are based on the number of alumni serving as Peace Corps volunteers in 2016.
Meghan McCloskey Boydston ’08, a political science major and art history minor, served as a girls’ education and empowerment Peace Corps volunteer in Sotouboua, Togo, from 2009 to 2011.
“Colorado College taught me to think critically about international development and gave me the skills to research and understand the cultural and historic context that I was working in,” says Boydston. “While at CC, I also had the opportunity to study abroad in Belgium and France, and these opportunities gave me the experience of cross-cultural communication and improved my French language skills.”
While in the Peace Corps, she lived in a town of approximately 60,000 people, most of whom were French-speaking. “My daily work included teaching classes on life skills and on economic development among women and girls who were not in school, both apprentices and mother’s clubs. I implemented a hand-washing program and installed hand-washing stations in five elementary schools,” says Boydston.
She also co-organized two “Take Our Daughters to Work” camps in the town and one national women’s leadership conference, implemented a city-wide trash collection program, and co-hosted a radio show called “Tune in Togo” to teach English through American music.
“The length of service allows volunteers to form a deep understanding of the host country’s culture and the existing conditions of their assigned community,” says Boydston. “Peace Corps service is unique because unlike short-term volunteer trips abroad, volunteers can form strong friendships with host-country nationals and volunteer in a community long enough to make a sustainable impact.”
Since the Peace Corps’ founding in 1961, 374 CC alumni have traveled abroad to serve as volunteers.