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a silent salute: The audience "claps" at Joke Night during Deaf Awareness week. Click Arts&Life for a link to story. / Photo by Leah Lopshire

Today's word on journalism

December 15, 2008

As part of my own personal "war on Christmas" (which a Utah state senator has offered legislation to outlaw), the WORD celebrates the season by going on hiatus until January. May all out days be merry and bright, and here’s to a safe, healthy and saner New Year. HoHoHo!

Empty Minds: "Of all the people expressing their mental vacuity, none has a better excuse for an empty head than the newspaperman: If he pauses to restock his brain, he invites onrushing deadlines to trample him flat. Broadcasting the contents of empty minds is what most of us do most of the time, and nobody more relentlessly than I."

--Russell Baker, Pulitzer-winning columnist

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Aggie Connection puts school spirit to work for alumni donations

By Melissa Salcedo

November 16, 2008 | For many college students, finding a job is a difficult task. Finding a job you get excited to go to is even more difficult.

Aggie Connection provides a fun work environment for its employees, while raising funds for Utah State University through private donors. Employed at Aggie Connection are 45 students from the university, whose responsibilities include calling parents of students to donate for the library fund and undergraduate seniors for the senior gift fund. Alumni are also called and asked to donate funds to the college they graduated from.

It is required that employees work four two-hour shifts per week, but they are allowed to pick up extra shifts throughout the week if there are open seats.

Aggie Connection offers its employees incentives, such as gift cards to local restaurants, parking tokens and passes for free tanning sessions. The latter appeals to the female workers, especially since they are the majority. There are only six male employees.

"It just kind of happened that way during the hiring process; girls were more personable," said Camille Cutler, a supervisor for Aggie Connection.

Jordan Dodson likes working for Aggie Connection so much that this is her second semester working there. The 19-year-old from Orem said, "It's a fun, easy going atmosphere. It's encouraging to work here because the management motivates you to do your best without being too strict,"she said. "Everyone has a lot of school spirit. That helps because it makes you want to come in to work everyday to raise money for our school."

Shifts sometimes start with training, done by the head of the department who the employees are calling for that evening. The department head will explain updates on what the college has been doing and what the donated money will go to. This training is crucial to Aggie Connection because it helps the employees connect with whomever they are calling that night. A light dinner is often provided to the workers, which is an added bonus.

Aggie Connection wants the public to know that they are not to be confused with telemarketers. Sian Smith said, "What makes us different from telemarketers is that we have something in common with the alumni.

"We're more personable and aren't trying to just get money from people. We're updating records and building rapport, Smith said.

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