It’s a special time of year. The days get longer. Birds fly home. And a select group of college students take to the phones to fundraise for Warren Wilson.
In a college Phonathon, representatives call alumni and chat, usually updating contact information and inviting them to honor the college with a donation. Often, schools contract their Phonathon to telemarketing companies, hiring strangers to represent their institution. But that’s not the Warren Wilson style.
Starting this week, the Spring 2011 Phonathon team (comprised entirely of current students) will begin training for Hoos Calling, the WWC Phonathon. Compared to larger schools, Wilson’s operation is notably organic; student callers know their college intimately, enabling them to connect with alumni and friends. The college’s present chats with its history about blacksmithing, contra dancing, or old crews like laundry and radio.
“Calling Wilson alumni who… think favorably of this place and asking them to support something they care for is one of the more pleasant part-time jobs out there,” one caller explains.
All money raised at Phonathon goes directly into the Warren Wilson College Fund, which provides scholarships for students – including many of the callers. Phonathon is also one of few employment opportunities on campus that offers cash wages, which callers earn dialing in Orr Cottage from 6:30 – 9:00pm, up to four times a week. If lucky, they also find pizza or cupcakes waiting for them.
But the most rewarding part of Phonathon is helping Warren Wilson help students, a subject close to many callers’ hearts, since 85% of Wilsonites receive some form of aid. Without “the privilege of… financial aid,” one current applicant explains, “I could not be here.”
“Many of my close friends have received scholarships,” another applicant adds. “It would be nice to help to continue to bring great people to WWC.”