Service where it’s needed most: The Peace Corps Speaks At South

By: Dustin Petridge | Lifestyle Editor

Photo courtesy of The New School.

On March 19, Laureen Fregeau of the University of South Alabama hosted a live discussion with multiple representatives of the Peace Corps in celebration of Women’s History Month. 

The Peace Corps is a government-run organization that sends hundreds of American volunteers annually to underprivileged countries worldwide to assist in the service industries– mainly healthcare, economic development, and urban planning. 

Presented in partnership with Kenyatta Spiller, another member of the Corps, the event highlighted the activities and services the Peace Corps provides to developing nations in need of humanitarian support.

Spiller is a longtime member of the Peace Corps, serving in both Botswana and Zambia for two years before returning to the United States and working for the federal government. She attended the session today to encourage young women to join the Peace Corps for a life-changing opportunity. 

Fregeau and Spiller introduced the panel discussion: a cast of women who told their service stories from the 1980s until the present. With countries ranging from Mali to North Macedonia, each woman offered a unique perspective on their experiences in the Peace Corps.

The panelists explained the activities and purposes behind serving in the Peace Corps including the application process and living arrangements once arriving in the host country. 

As explained in the discussion, many women traveling abroad with the Peace Corps are often discouraged by family and friends for fear of their safety and possible sexual assault while serving.

Elizabeth Kutz was a participant in the panel and advised women not to be fearful about joining.

“If I were to be assaulted, it could happen anywhere, not just the country I’m serving in,” Kutz said.  

The event was an opportunity to directly help people and make a tangible difference in a nation outside of the United States. Held during the 60th anniversary of the Peace Corps’ establishment and Women’s History Month, the timing was perfect for anyone looking to join an impactful organization. 

For more information on joining the Peace Corps, visit their website and to attend more events like this in the future, visit the College of Education and Professional Studies’ website.