Calling up the alumni

Jon-Paul Cook's picture

Jon-Paul Cook, Opinion - By Jon-Paul Cook on Thursday, December 9, 2010 - 05:15

It’s a trap!

The Phonathon program is one of the most important jobs that students are pushed to do but at the same time one of the most insidious.

It simultaneously sucks dry hard working parents and alumni to fund scholarships, campus infrastructure, tech upgrades and professor’s salaries—and promotes more anti-social attitudes in its cliquish work force.

The truth is, the Phonathon receives the most exception funding of any job on-campus because Whittier College suffered a falling out in endowment levels in 2008.

The extra pay is an incentive for many potential applicants. The more people working the phones, the more efficient the Phonathon program will be in contacting alumni.

This special funding marks it as a very important and available alternative for students without work-study if they wish to work on campus. However, Whittier College is promoting the Phonathon so intensely, that some students may feel that they have no choice but to work for this program.

The Phonathon begins contacting students within three months of graduation. If I were an alumnus called up by a student of the Phonathon service that soon, I would not be the least bit cooperative, because I would not yet have developed a strong relationship with those students or the program to be willing to donate. Further, within only three months of graduation, I would likely not have the economic stability necessary to give anything.

This is a problem faced by many students working there. It is my belief that the Phonathon strengthens negativity within the tight-knit group that is partly trapped working there. How can a person stay positive when they are told “no” every day they come to work? How can a person hold up against the hang-ups and rudeness of suspicious alumni?

You have heard of the Phonathon as being the best paying job on campus. In terms of starting pay, this is true but the bloated salary does not reflect at all the qualifications of student workers or the difficulty of the job. From what I gather, Phonathon employees just sit on their duffs all day while they speak into their phones.

Despite the leisurely working environment, the Phonathon suffers from a heart-breakingly low retention rate. Many students quit their job as a Phonathon operator each year and the spring hours of operation changing to the evening also contributes. The seasonal change conflicts with many employees’ schedules. This job gets in the way of student studies particularly during the weeks around finals and sees the most deserters in that time period.

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on Thu, 2010-12-09 23:22.

this is a horrible article and is completely untrue