Berkeley holds its title for sending the most alums into the Peace Corps

In this 2011 video, UC Berkeley alumni talk about their experiences with the Peace Corps. UC Berkeley has sent more alumni into the organization than any other school. (UC Berkeley video by Roxanne Makasdjian)

No university has sent more alumni into the Peace Corps than UC Berkeley, the government service organization confirmed for another year on Wednesday.

Altogether, 3,761 UC Berkeley alumni have joined the Peace Corps since it was founded by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, 392 more than second-place University of Wisconsin at Madison.

“Berkeley has a long tradition of students being engaged in public service, and I think the ‘60s is when it really came to the forefront, and became part of our DNA,” said Sandra Bass, the head of UC Berkeley’s Public Service Center, founded 50 years ago to help students give back.

Berkeley has led the nation in total Peace Corps volunteers for years. In 2018, the school has 41 alumni serving for two years in countries around the world.

Among them is Christopher Mishima, who teaches sustainable cooking and gardening techniques in Malawi.

“Berkeley allowed me to take on a very unique education as a major in conservation resource studies and Native American studies,” Mishima said. “It gave me a good understanding of how we as humans impact the environment. We must understand both sides to make a positive impact in the world.”

UC Davis, UCLA and Berkeley all made the top 25 of the 2018 rankings, with a combined 133 alumni serving in the Peace Corps. Nationally, the University of Wisconsin-Madison topped 2018 rankings, with 85 alumni currently serving.