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February 24, 1997

Peace Corps honors UCSC for longtime partnership

By Francine Tyler

Forty-four volunteers from UCSC are currently serving in the Peace Corps and approximately 400 have served since the university's founding, said Patti Garamendi, associate director of the global volunteer organization. More volunteers have come from UCSC this fiscal year than from any other UC campus.

Garamendi awarded UCSC a plaque for its contributions to the corps during a campus visit on February 20.

"We wanted to come out and honor UCSC for the longtime partnership we've had," Garamendi said in a telephone interview. "UCSC's perspectives on global studies and doing something with your education makes it an ideal place for volunteers."

Vice Chancellor Francisco Hernandez of Student Affairs accepted the award for UCSC at a reception at Merrill College Provost House. Approximately 35 people attended the reception, including former Peace Corps volunteers, students in the application process, and others who have assisted the Peace Corps on campus.

One of UCSC's alumni left for South Africa this month as part of the first Peace Corps team to serve that country. Eric Dennard, who received a bachelor's degree in anthropology and minority politics in 1995, is working as a school and community development adviser.

To help recruit more students like Dennard, UCSC opened a satellite office for the corps at Merrill College this past fall. The office is staffed by two students who help prospective volunteers with applications, answer questions, and deliver the Peace Corps message through classroom visits and information booths on campus.

Lysa Twardosz, one of the campus representatives, is hoping to volunteer with the corps herself in the summer of '98. "It's even more motivating doing this kind of work and seeing the organization is as committed and solid as you think it is," said Twardosz. "This has been a great opportunity."

Today, nearly 7,000 Peace Corps volunteers are serving in 90 countries around the world, working on projects in education, environmental conservation, business development, agriculture, health, and the skilled trades. Since 1961, 147,000 Americans have served in the Peace Corps.

The corps office at Merrill College is trying to locate returned volunteers who are alumni or current members of the campus community. Please call the Peace Corps office at (408) 459-4470 or send e-mail to peacecor@cats.ucsc.edu.

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