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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Diversity, equity official to leave GW in July
By Jenna Lee, Assistant News Editor • June 8, 2024

Service corps applications continue to rise

As the national unemployment rate rises, some top community service organizations have continued to see a large jump in applications this year – many of which come from GW students.

Americorps, a federal program that focuses on service within the country, had a 400 percent increase in applications and Teach For America, an organization that places college graduates in inner city schools, saw an additional 10,000 students apply this year – a 42 percent jump. The Peace Corps reported a 16 percent rise in applications over the past year, the largest increase in five years.

A representative for Teach for America attributed the increase to a number of factors.

“Young people are just more interested in public service,” said Eva Boster, a Teach for America spokeswoman. “We’ve also had a very robust recruitment effort on over 400 college campuses. And the economy has played a role in decreasing competition on campus for recruitment.”

The Hatchet reported in November that Teach for America was already experiencing a 36 percent application increase, before their application deadline earlier this year.

An active interest in public service at GW is not new this year. Last year, Teach for America was the largest employer of GW graduates, and GW sends more students to the Peace Corps than any medium-sized school in the nation, with 57 alumni currently serving.

Peace Corps spokesman Stephen Chapman partially attributed the rise in applications to President Obama’s dedication to community service.

“We feel President Obama’s call to service has increased interest. We saw our online applications spike 175 percent around the time of President Obama’s inauguration, a testimony to the way many Americans have felt inspired by the new administration,” Chapman said.

GW’s participation in public service was the main topic of conversation during University President Steven Knapp’s brief discussion with Obama before Eric Holder’s installation in Lisner Auditorium last month.

Though most corps cited a call to service as the main drive behind the rise in applications, Boster said the economy was also a factor. The national unemployment rate rose to 8.5 percent in March, the highest in 25 years. Corps jobs allow graduates to take time to wait out the recession and guarantee housing and living expenses.

“I think that students are definitely interested in doing something that will make a difference. Because of the increased desire to be involved in public service, we’ve grown our recruitment efforts exponentially and economy has played a role,” Boster said. “Having a guaranteed paying job right out of college could definitely be one possible reason for the rise in applications.”

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