Students Dial It Up

By Gayle Bustamante


More than 50 University of the Incarnate Word student volunteers spent time on the line during a weeklong Phonathon this month to raise money for UIW scholarships.

For three hours a day Sept. 11-15, students used phones donated by AT&T to call alumni.

The annual Phonathon acts as a way for students to gain work experience along with communication skills, said coordinator Patrick Greener. As they go through training, students follow a script. Out of all the volunteers, around 20 are offered a position but all the students experience the positive aspects of the job and the disadvantages, he stressed.

Before dialing numbers, a general meeting takes place where volunteers share their “horror stories.”

Sophomore Clifton Cryer said he was discouraged when an alum cut him off and demanded he never call again.

“You have your good ones, and you have your bad ones,” Cryer said,

The frustration continues because many phone numbers are out-of-date. Most people do not answer and many numbers direct students to parents’ households.

“These kids have no work experience, but they come here with high energy and enthusiasm,” Greener said. “It’s really good for them.”

Overall, students believe their week of training qualifies as a good way to increase their skills in interacting with others.

Freshman Nicole Erfurth said she enjoyed talking with alumni as they show an interest in her life and the school.

“The University expands from year to year, and the students get to discuss the changes with alumni,” Greener said.

After phone calls are made, students are recognized for their success. Greener begins with a quick UIW history game and gave the winners gift cards. Students who bring in large pledges receive a prize as well. Throughout the week, a student showed great achievement in bringing in a pledge of $2,500 and altogether students booked more than 250 pledges.

Rebecca Brune, a 1991 UIW graduate, revisited her college days by participating in the Phonathon and expressed her amazement with the university’s additions.

“The University of the Incarnate Word is a good foundation for life,” Brune said. “One day these students will be the ones receiving the calls.”

Leave a Reply