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Texas State ranks among top volunteer-producing Hispanic Serving Institutions

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The United States Peace Corp announced this month that Texas State is listed as one of the top volunteer-producing Hispanic Serving Institutions in the nation for this year.

This is the second time Texas State has been listed as a top volunteer-producing HSI. The school is ranked 10th out of a total 415 colleges and universities considered HSIs.

HSIs are institutions which participate in a federally funded program designed to assist colleges or universities in the U.S. attempting to assist first generation, majority low-income Hispanic students.

Out of 8,655 volunteers overall, Texas State currently has nine alumni volunteering in places like Mexico, Botswana, the Dominican Republic, and Ethiopia, among other countries around the world.

The university was last included on the Peace Corps list of top volunteer-producing HSIs in 2014, with a total of 12 volunteers serving abroad.

The Peace Corps is a preeminent international service organization of the United States, according to their website. They send people with college degrees abroad to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers teach things like English, focusing on sustainability and other subjects which can be passed down for generations.

“There are a lot of ups and downs and a lot of personal growth” said Daniel Leffler, Texas State alumnus and former Peace Corp volunteer. “In the end, it really informs your view on development and the role the U.S. has in helping countries in the developing world for good or for bad.”

Leffler graduated from Texas State in 2012 and after joining the Peace Corps, he traveled to Micronesia to teach English as well as facilitate community development programs focused on sustainable agriculture.

“I stayed for 26 months. The usual length is 27 months, but programs can vary,” Leffler said.

While volunteers are abroad, they live with a host family for two years, with three months of training where volunteers learn about the country they are serving in, said Jessica Mayle, supervisory public affairs specialist for the Peace Corps.

The rankings are updated annually based on numbers reported by recruiters and staff of the Peace Corps.

“Diversity is very important to the Peace Corps,” said Mayle. “So we like to celebrate schools who represent minority populations well.”