Connection: fun or work?
By Emily Flinders
She stares intently at him, sizing
him up with her eyes and probing into the deep corners
of his soul. He waits for the question.
"What year did Elvis die?"
she asks, her voice daring him to a challenge.
He takes a moment, his brow furrowing
as the wheels in his brain start to turn. His mind races
through the file cabinets of memory, searching for the
"1977," the man sitting next
to him blurts out impatiently. The other two stare at
him in disbelief.
"Okay you're done. Will you
please go get Amanda?" the girl asks as the man leaves
the hot seat, and the other man sheepishly returns to
Aggie Connection is an extension
of the university that employs 45 students to call alumni
and parents of current students to stress the importance
of giving to the university, said Lucia Rhodes, Assistant
Director of the Annual Fund.
To the casual observer it may seem
like fun and games, but students work hard to get donations
from callers in spite of the economic recession.
"There are fewer donors, but
the donors that are giving are giving more," said Rhodes.
Rhodes said that in spite of the
recession, they haven't lost any ground. However, other
schools are not as fortunate. In a conference she recently
attended, Rhodes said that some schools were experiencing
a 15 to 20 percent drop in donations.
"Most of our donors understand
the need to give in difficult times," said Rhodes.
Amanda Banks who has worked as a
caller for two years said she hasn't seen a huge difference
in the number of donations.
"People use the economy as
an excuse more not to donate," said Banks.
Recession or not, employees take
breaks from calling to answer trivia questions, play
unity building games, and enjoy treats. Board games
litter a table that is surrounded by cushioned chairs,
and laughter can be heard throughout the room. Employees
sit in reclining cushioned chairs as they talk into
their head seats, trying to persuade the person on the
other end to donate.
Callers usually call alumni or parents
that studied or graduated in their same area of study.
Banks, who is an education major, said she has enjoyed
talking to people who have experience in the field.
She said she talked to one woman who gave her some really
There are 40 callers and five supervisors
at full capacity. Callers make calls to alumni and parents,
and the supervisors monitor their calls and also confirm
a pledge when someone agrees to donate money. Supervisors
may also lead games and activities to motivate the callers.
Supervisors are callers that were promoted because of
their abilities and leadership skills, said Rhodes.
"I do what needs to be done,"
said Steve Nance, a supervisor who has worked at Aggie
Connection for 3 years. Nance says his favorite part
of his job is the people he works with.
"I think it's seriously the
best job in Logan," said caller Cody Cutler, who says
that occasional parties, good pay, and a great group
of people combine to make Aggie Connection a great place