Transylvania Peace Corps Prep engages with Lexington community

 Transylvania last year became Kentucky’s first liberal arts college to establish a Peace Corps Prep program. Students engage in local projects such as this Habitat build.

The Peace Corps isn’t just about adventures in foreign lands.

Members of Transylvania University’s Peace Corps Prep program engage with Lexington community partners like Habitat for Humanity.

Last month, they joined other students, faculty and staff for a Habitat build in the North Limestone neighborhood. They installed hardware like windows treatments and door knobs, demolished pavement and did yard work to get the home ready for its new residents.

“This provides both practical experience, in which students develop hands-on skills and competencies that can be translated into Peace Corps service, and cultivates an ethic of service that stands at the center of the Peace Corps’ mission,” said Steve Hess, a political science professor and Peace Corps Prep coordinator. “Organizations such as Habitat for Humanity provide students with the opportunity to get off campus and make meaningful contributions to communities in need and build solidarity with one another.”

In addition to community engagement, Transylvania’s co-curricular Peace Corps Prep program involves formal coursework and professional leadership training. It also gives students an edge on getting into the Peace Corps after graduation and helps prepare them for international development careers.

More than 235,000 Americans have traveled to 141 countries to serve in the Peace Corps since its founding in 1961, according to the group.