When Sean Michetti graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a degree in journalism, he had one goal: to make a difference in the world. Sean eventually did, by joining the Peace Corps, a popular destination for CSU alums.

In fact, the latest ranking of the 2016 Peace Corps’ top volunteer-producing schools again puts CSU campuses at the top of the list, led by San Diego State, which was 24th in the large colleges and universities category. Humboldt State, San Francisco State, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cal State Long Beach were also on the list.

San Diego State was also recognized as the 28th top volunteer-producing school of all time, with 1,195 alumni, and the 5th top Hispanic-Serving Institution.

“The Peace Corps is a unique opportunity for college graduates to put their education into practice and become agents of change in communities around the world,” said Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. “Today’s graduates understand the importance of intercultural understanding and are raising their hands in record numbers to take on the challenge of international service.”

Now in its 51st year, the Peace Corps has had more than 200,000 American volunteers. The agency requires volunteers to be at least 18 years of age and commit to serve two years and spend three months learning the language and culture of the assigned country.

For Michetti, joining the Peace Corps was a “no-brainer.” He added that “it is a fertile training ground for people who like to think outside the box, who are entrepreneurial and are not intimidated by a challenge.” Today, he is a Peace Corps regional recruiter in the agency’s Oakland office, where he draws on his experience in Bulgaria to inform potential volunteers about the program.

Currently teaching English as a Second Language in Costa Rica, SDSU alumna Jaclyn Stecker finds the Peace Corps to be “a more stable and structured, long-term opportunity for the types of changes I longed to make in this world.”

Erin Dowden, a former Peace Corps volunteer who served in the West African nation of Gambia, credits her professors at SDSU for giving her the inspiration to enter foreign service. “They definitely encouraged my ambitions and played a big role in my decision to join.”

In addition to Peace Corps service, CSU students also give back to their communities through robust service learning programs that integrate community service with academic study to enrich learning, teach civic responsibility and strengthen communities. Faculty members initiate public service opportunities and establish course goals, while students commit to completing a certain number of service hours outside of class. Community partners benefit from student assistance and ongoing interaction with both students and faculty. Examples include the Community Action Volunteers in Education (CAVE) at Chico State, Youth Educational Services (YES) at Humboldt State, Educational Participation in Communities (EPIC) at Cal State LA, and the Center for Internships and Community Engagement at Cal State Fullerton.

Last year, 11 CSU campuses were honored with the Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement classification in recognition of their commitment to service learning. They join an elite group of 361 colleges and universities across the country that received the designation, including three other CSU campuses—Channel Islands, Dominguez Hills and Sacramento—that received the honor in 2010. In 2014, 15 campuses were named to the President’s High Education Community Service Honor Roll for their outstanding work in the communities they serve.