Getting Ready to Recruit
By Jonathan Pearson on Wednesday, August 25th, 2010
It’s prime time in the Peace Corps recruitment season. As university students begin to return to campus, the Chicago Peace Corps office wrapped up a three-day training for a dozen campus recruiters who will fan out across the eleven states covered in the region.
This will be the second year that Jack Campbell (Fiji 89-91; Botswana 92-94) will be recruiting at Ohio State and seven other campuses in central Ohio. “We were up last year in recruitment. This year our goals are higher than last year. So we just keep plugging away!”
While Alexis Guild (Guatemala 07-09) assisted the University of Michigan recruiting office last year as a Peace Corps Fellow at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, this year she will be one of three part-time campus recruiters assigned to Ann Arbor, where the 50th anniversary celebration kicks off this October. “Michigan feels a very strong connection to the Peace Corps. It’s an exciting time to be an RPCV at the university, and it’s especially exciting to be a Peace Corps recruiter on campus.”
As the Chicago office prepares for a high number of inquiries and applications coming out of Michigan’s 50th anniversary launch, Christine Torres, Public Affairs Specialist for the region notes that events on other campuses are also planned. Christine also says as smaller and mid-size schools are recognizing the importance of offering international studies programs, the office is receiving more requests for Peace Corps materials.
The campus recruiters training was an opportunity to make personal connections with the regional office, share best practices and learn details about the recruitment process – matching volunteer skills, interests, medical requirements and other factors with country needs, openings and pending departure dates.
Recruiters and a supportive cast of returned volunteers provide Peace Corps’ recruitment infrastructure. But Christine Torres also recognizes the important role national leaders can play. Citing President Obama’s call to service, attention at the highest levels of government has been good for the Peace Corps. “We know when those messages come from our leaders, they inspire others and make a difference. It reminds us of JFK.”