Calling U: Students help campus connect with alumni

Alumni Phone-a-thonThe telephones of alumni across the nation began to ring Feb. 2 as the annual Alumni Phone-a-thon got under way at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

The campaign, now in its 12th year, was started in 1997 as a way for the University to reach out to its alumni to update personal information and generate contributions.

“It’s one way to get in touch with the alumni,” said Shane Kohl (above, with students), director of development and organizer of the effort. “It’s an easy way to get in touch with as many as we can.”

Twenty undergraduate students were hired for the event and will spend the next six weeks on the phone with thousands of alumni from every state in the United States. The students will seek to update address, phone number and e-mail for each alumnus, as well as what significant things are going on in the person’s life.

Additionally, the students will encourage donations to the annual fund, which helps generate scholarships and support for academic programs.

Samantha Douglas has been a student caller with the Phone-a-thon for four years. “I find myself coming back each year because it’s a great way to meet new people and use my communication skills. It’s also fun – I get to talk on the phone for money,” she said.

Nicole Michlig is another returning student caller who loves the challenge of talking to various personalities and updating alumni on their alma mater.

“You never know what to expect each time you make a call,” Michlig said. “Last year, I had a person on the line who was a little intoxicated. I think he could have talked for hours, but I had to politely move on.”

Both students agree that the experience is rewarding and fun, which is why many return year after year.

“The Phone-a-thon shows that I am proud to be a UW-Green Bay student and I feel that I am giving back to the University in some way,” Michlig said.

— Story by student Rachel Rivard, editorial intern, Marketing and University Communication Office, UW-Green Bay.