Philanthropy

Friday feel-good: Tarheels give back via Peace Corps

It ain't all Ivory Tower Intellectualism:

For the third year in a row, UNC-Chapel Hill has moved up in the rankings of the Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list. UNC-Chapel Hill ranks No. 7 among large schools, up from No. 12 last year.

According to the Peace Corps, 51 Tar Heels volunteered around the world in 2016. Since the Peace Corps’ founding in 1961, nearly 1,300 Carolina alumni have served as volunteers overseas.

Just a quick anecdote: In my travels as a US Army soldier during the latter years of the Cold War, I came in contact with Peace Corps folks quite often. We had some fairly intense debates about *how* to achieve peaceful situations worldwide, but the truth is, the work they did (and do) far surpasses what military training and intervention are capable of. Why? Because conflict is almost always caused by the struggle to survive, the desperate need for life's essentials, like food, potable water, shelter, security, etc. If you can help people secure these things with their own two hands, conflict becomes far less likely. It sounds simplistic, but it is the truth, and the Peace Corps has accomplished so much in the "avoided conflict" category it's impossible to quantify. That's Meagan Meekins pictured above, and if you see her on campus, don't run. She's the UNC-CH Peace Corps recruiter, and she can help you figure out where you want to go and what you want to do.

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