The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Ring, Ring! U-Phonathon Crew is Calling

(Photo Courtesy of Jenifer Wilson)
(Photo Courtesy of Jenifer Wilson)
(Photo Courtesy of Jenifer Wilson)

Hidden on the east side of campus is a group of students who spend their time raising money for the numerous scholarships and campaigns across campus.

Tucked inside the basement of the Development Office, the U-Phonathon Crew calls U alumni to ask for their financial support. In the 2015 fiscal year, the student callers have already raised $528,042.

Jenifer Wilson, the U-Phonathon Program Coordinator, said she enjoys working with the 44 college students on staff and watching them make connections with alumni.

“This is a great place for students to work because we understand and work with student schedules,” she said.

Brian Buehler, a junior in Parks, Recreation and Tourism, has been working for the U-Phonathon Crew for two and a half years and said the experience has been valuable on many different levels.

“Working at Phonathon I have learned so much about the whole university,” he said. “The job has taught me so much about memorizing and adapting to new information.”

New employees are assigned to “futures,” or alumni that have never given to the university before. As the callers get more experience they move up the chain and once qualified are assigned to “high-ask donors.” One of the largest donations Buehler ever received from a donor was $5,000.

“Persistence will get you where you need to go and it all comes down to just putting yourself out there,” he said.

Benjamin Bradford, a junior in pre-business, enjoys speaking to alumni who graduated in his same major because they often provide him with good advice. He also likes being constantly updated on what’s going on around campus and being able to share it with alumni.

“We have a lot of facts thrown at us,” Bradford said. “You learn how to think on your feet and use the information you are given to match the interests of the person you are talking to. It’s a great skill to have.”

Aleksandra Obradovic, a junior in business, said while the job is laid-back and the people are fun to work with, difficult nights come along every now and then.

“There are some nights that are just off,” Obradovic said. “Lots of refusals will come and it is easy to get discouraged, but the one thing I’ve learned at Phonathon is to push through and not to give up.”

The U-Phonathon students use a three-question method when talking with alumni and asking for financial support. They first ask for the highest amount, and then lower the amount for the two subsequent attempts.

U-Phonathon is actively hiring for summer and fall positions. If interested, students can go to

[email protected]


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