Doug Sprankling '10, alumnus
Doug Sprankling '10 is serving two years in the Peace Corps, performing health-related work in a rural village in the African country of Burkina Faso, formerly known as the Republic of Upper Volta.
In general, his job focuses on hygiene, HIV/AIDS prevention, family planning, malaria and nutrition. He is living and working at a local health center that serves eight villages and about 6,500 people. Sprankling says he collaborates with community health agents, training them to organize and facilitate informational sessions about improving the population's general well-being.
He also works directly with the population, particularly women, helping them make hard and liquid soap, anti-mosquito cream and improved mud stoves, as well as with children, helping in summer camps, English clubs and with music and art sessions.
"I'm currently in the middle of a big latrine construction project," he says. "Three local masons and I are building 32 latrines in two nearby villages, sponsored in large part by Princeton friends and alums."
The Davis, Calif., native came to Princeton thinking he would concentrate in either philosophy or English. He later decided on English. Two of his passions were the works of John Milton and contemporary post-modern fiction. He wrote his senior thesis on Dave Eggers’ memoir “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.” He says one of the academic highlights of his Princeton years was a class taught by the novelist Joyce Carol Oates.
Sprankling played the trumpet in the Princeton University Band, and in his senior year was drum major. He performed at many Princeton football games, but a favorite memory was the win over Yale his freshman year. "We came back from a huge deficit to clinch the win and celebrated with a bonfire on campus," he says. Sanctioned by the University, the bonfire is lit whenever Princeton defeats both Harvard and Yale in the same football season.
The band was just one of Sprankling's extracurricular activities. He led two Outdoor Action trips, trained as a Wilderness First Responder, taught first aid courses and served as a coordinator for the pre-orientation freshman Outdoor Action trip.
He was on the Forbes College Council, where he represented his fellow students at the residential college and organized events such as study breaks and the annual Casino Night. He also wrote the newsletter for Forbes. In another capacity at his residential college, he helped to organize and captain Forbes’ intramural sports teams. One of the sports is broomball, which he describes as "playing hockey on ice in your sneakers, using a plastic stick with a broom-like base to hit the ball into the opposing team's goal."
"I traveled all around the country looking at liberal arts colleges," he says. "When I got to Princeton, I thought it had a fantastic campus, and all the people I talked to were impressive."