Students, former Peace Corps volunteers and Office of Service Learning faculty and staff filed into the Columns room in the Reynolds Alumni Center on Wednesday to hear about MU’s new Peace Corps Prep program.
The program will let undergraduate students who are interested in participating in Peace Corps or other similar volunteer organizations get an early start to experience what opportunities are available.
Peace Corps was originally established in 1961 with a goal to promote world peace and friendship. It serves communities in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and central and eastern Asia.
Volunteers can help in numerous ways whether it is through environment, health, education or other areas.
During the event, Chancellor Brady Deaton and others shared their experiences volunteering abroad.
Deaton said helping with education in Thailand gave him a new perspective on life.
“You spend a lot of time thinking about yourself in a world where that culture looks at yourself very differently, so you also look at yourself differently," he said.
Senior Megan Cahill said her trip to Ghana, as an assistant daycare teacher, helped shape her outlook on life.
She said she witnessed just how run down and broken some huts were but said the people always had a positive, friendly attitude toward others.
"I was shocked," she said. "It was something new to see how they lived, but as I got to know the people in the community, I realized just how loving they were. They’d always say ‘Good morning,’ ‘Good afternoon,’ ‘Good evening’ and ask how I was really doing. I started to really feel a part of their culture.”
Helen Lowman, associate director for volunteer recruitment and selection for the Peace Corps, talked about her first impressions of MU.
“MU is a beautiful campus. I was surrounded by excited students, excited faculty who talked about Peace Corps and students of Mizzou, and the numerous strength this university possesses," she said.
She said she loved how passionate students seem to be and how eager the students were to be involved with serving around the world.
At the end of the event, Deaton signed the memo of cooperation for MU Peace Corps Prep Program.