By Emily Schario
When I tell my friends and family I work at Stonehill’s Phonathon, they usually roll their eyes and say, “Oh, you’re one of those people.” While it is true I solicit donations over the phone, the reality is as Phonathon callers, we do much more than ask alumni for money. I’m sure we can all admit Stonehill’s community is like no other, and I believe our goal as Phonathon callers is to make sure alumni are staying connected to the Stonehill community years after they’ve graduated. Whether these connections are maintained through one-time donations, periodical visits to campus, or a quick conversation with a current student, as callers, we want to remind alumni they’re always Skyhawks, even decades after graduating.
After a year of long and interesting conversations, many donations, and even occasional hang-ups, I’ve complied a list of my Top Three Phonathon calls:
1.) My first successful pledge came from an alum named Robert Flippin, Jr. Since he was one of the first people I talked to on the job, I was still stumbling over my words and struggling to get the conversation flowing. Mr. Flippin was so engaging and asked me many questions about how my first year at the Hill had been going. When I asked him if he would like to make a quarterly pledge totaling $300, without hesitation, he said “Absolutely, and you can double it.” Besides the fact that I was beaming with joy over nailing my first pledge, what I was most excited about was that he confidently invested back into the Stonehill community because it had such a strong impact on his career and personal life. It is safe to say I was pretty Flippin excited.
2.) One of my most recent pledges came from an alum named Sara Morton. Because of the recent appeal sent out in the mail, she was excitedly anticipating a phone call from a student. We had a wonderful and personal conversation about her major, her post-grad experience and her favorite Stonehill professors. However, it wasn’t until I brought up residence life that we really clicked. It turns out she used to live on the third floor of Boland and I currently live on the second. Although this was a small thing we had in common, it was still cool to connect with an alum through shared experience of residence hall and have both parties be excited about it.
3.) I always love hearing alumni talk about life after graduation, whether it’s their current job, grad school or personal projects. I recently spoke with an alum who had been an electrical engineer for 10 years, but was in the process of opening his own brewery with his friends. Despite the mild anxiety associated with such an extreme and abrupt career change, he was thrilled and passionate about this new business. We ended up discussing his business plans for over 45 minutes, whereas a normal Phonathon call lasts maybe 10. He was so grateful for the liberal arts education he received from Stonehill, which allowed him to seamlessly make this transition. At Stonehill he was taught how to think critically, write professionally and collaborate with others. These are valuable tools in whatever field students choose to go into. It was amazing to hear how his Stonehill education impacted him through this career change. It makes me feel even more confident about entering the real world after graduation. No matter where I go, I will always have priceless tools in my belt that Stonehill has given me. To top it all off, he told me to come by his brewery when I turned 21 and remind him that I was the Stonehill student he spoke to on the phone so he could buy me a drink. Offer accepted.