By Jenny Tran
LOGOS STAFF WRITER
The annual Phonathon began over the weekend and is running through Sunday, Oct. 6, this fall at the University of the Incarnate Word.
The fund-raiser provides a great opportunity for the present and past of UIW to meet, administrators said. Every fall and spring, students communicate with alumni annually to update information and ask for pledges that will contribute to student scholarships, student activities, and technology advances. Alumni are also informed of upcoming UIW events.
Students learn precious job skills that will become useful in the future, Phonathon Director Patrick Greener said. On top of that, the best and most dedicated 30 to 37 Phonathon student callers will be paid $7.75 an hour after they have completed their 15 hours of volunteer community service hours that can be applied toward the 45 needed for graduation. Before the Phonathon began, volunteers were involved on Fridays in training sessions where they received advice and tips to use when they called.
Greener, who has led the Phonathon almost a decade, said he has enjoyed over the years the enthusiasm of the students. One tip he gives the volunteers is to simply smile.
“It’s contagious,” he said.
Phonathon started back in the 1980s or 1990s when students had to use phonebooks and landlines. At first, students called from Marian Hall. Then the Phonathon was moved to the second floor of J.E. and L.E. Mabee and then in 2008, Brackenridge Villa. Now the Phonathon headquarters is located in the McCracken House across the Sky Bridge, but since last year, the Phonathon has been in Room 129 of Bonilla Hall.
What once was six students over the years has increased greatly in number. AT&T has donated 50 cell phones for use in the Phonathon.
The pledges accumulated in Phonathon helps raise money in the annual fund, which recently has been mostly for the Scholarship Fund doe to the enormous growth in student population.
Throughout the Phonathon, student volunteers will be able to win numerous prizes as they work to make calls and earn pledges. The prizes can vary from a gift card to Spurs tickets. This year, the goal is the raise more than $100,000 in pledges.