URI debuts on Peace Corps annual top 25 ranking

Posted on
KINGSTON, R.I. –February 1, 2007— The Peace Corps has taken notice of the increasing number of University of Rhode Island alumni volunteers. The government agency which traces its roots and mission to 1960, ranked URI in the top 25 of its annual rankings. URI moved up 22 spots to enter this year’s ranking.

URI was ranked number 23 in the Peace Corps’ top 25 list for medium-sized schools. The Peace Corps defines medium-sized schools as those with 5,001 to 15,000 undergraduates. URI has 12,341 undergraduates.

Since the Peace Corps’ inception, 354 URI alumni have served as volunteers.

“URI continues to gain recognition for our students’ commitment to service,” comments Merith Weisman, URI coordinator of the Feinstein Center for Service Learning, noting that in 2005 the Princeton Review named URI “ a college with a conscience” for its outstanding community involvement.

“The latest ranking from the Peace Corps, shows that URI students are more engaged than ever,” says Weisman, noting that she finds that each semester students are measurably more interested in volunteerism, service learning and civic engagement.

“They see themselves as members of a larger, international community and feel responsible for the common good, not only as students, but throughout their lives. The Peace Corps is a serious commitment and the contribution that URI graduates are making to this cause shows their dedication,” Weisman says.

Weisman pointed out that in 1995, Rhode Island philanthropist Alan Shawn Feinstein endowed a service-learning component of URI 101 classes. The endowment insures that every URI student has the opportunity to be involved in meaningful community service, reflect upon that experience and have a forum to share their thoughts and feelings with other students. Since then, upperclassmen have participated in over 45 service learning classes and been involved with dozens of co-curricular volunteer opportunities.

URI was one of two mid-sized public universities in New England to make the ranking.