Peace Corps campus ambassador Jyoti Gohil encourages other Illinois State University students to become involved in Peace Corps. Interested students who will be on campus for 2017–2018 should apply by April 15 to be a Peace Corps campus ambassador.
As a campus ambassador chosen and trained by Peace Corps, Gohil worked closely with Peace Corps Campus Recruiter Vanessa Soto and the Stevenson Center for Community and Economic Development. Gohil assisted Soto in social media campaigns, Festival ISU, and Peace Corps events.
Campus ambassadors typically serve less than five hours per week raising the Peace Corps profile on campus and introducing Peace Corps to new and diverse student groups. Along with professional mentorship, campus ambassadors who meet performance standards receive a letter of recommendation at the end of the year.
Gohil is an undergraduate student majoring in chemistry. While she has not served as a Peace Corps volunteer yet, she is looking forward to the experience. “Every returned Peace Corps volunteer that I have talked to would go back and serve another two years in a heartbeat, which makes me want to go and serve my first two years as soon as I can,” she said.
Gohil learned of the campus ambassador position while on a Pay-It-Forward Tour with Students Today Leaders Forever during spring break last year.
“Peace Corps has been in the back of my mind ever since a girl at my high school mentioned doing it and being a volunteer,” Gohil said. “I didn’t give it much thought until I heard about the campus ambassador position and got more involved here at ISU.”
The Peace Corps was created by President John F. Kennedy more than 50 years ago and places volunteers in over 140 countries around the world. Volunteers serve a total of two years in their host countries, developing and maintaining initiatives that benefit local communities.
“All the staff and students in the Stevenson Center are good resources if someone is interested in joining the Peace Corps, so take advantage of that to the fullest extent,” Gohil said.
The Stevenson Center for Community and Economic Development offers students two graduate programs and one new undergraduate program. Students who have served in Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, or similar organizations can earn their master’s degrees through the Peace Corps Fellows Program or the Applied Community and Economic Development Fellows Program. These applied, interdisciplinary master’s programs include financial support.
The new program, Peace Corps Prep, is designed to prepare undergraduate students and assist in their Peace Corps application if they choose to apply. For questions regarding Peace Corps, interested individuals can contact or visit the Peace Corps campus recruiter, or register for an upcoming application workshop. Peace Corps Prep students are starting a registered student organization (RSO) this semester to acquire leadership experience and create an inclusive atmosphere for service-oriented activities and Peace Corps promotion.
Although Gohil will finish her time as campus ambassador at the end of this semester, she wants to leave potential applicants with a piece of advice: “There is a lot of flexibility with being campus ambassador, so if you have an idea for an event or how to promote Peace Corps, don’t be afraid to bring it up to the recruiter or anyone else in the Stevenson Center.”
Kaitlin Pavsner is the Stevenson Center’s public relations intern.