November 13, 2007
SIUC students play role in fund-raising successCARBONDALE, Ill. — When Ashley Klunk was hired as one of the Southern Illinois University Foundation student telefund callers, she admits to underestimating the experience she was embarking upon.
A senior from Jerseyville majoring in pre-medicine, Klunk is one of 80 Southern Illinois University Carbondale students who solicit funds from alumni and donors through the Foundation's Annual Fund. The program is designed to generate revenue to support various scholarship opportunities, academic departments, programs and facility upgrades at the University. Students are assigned records based on specific segments of the database. They perform their duties year-round with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday breaks and public holidays.
Klunk has raised $65,000 as a student telefunder.
"Initially, I thought it was just another after-school job. But when I started achieving some milestones, I realized how important this position is to the University," Klunk said. "I derive satisfaction in knowing that I have helped SIUC and fellow students by raising private support."
In addition, Klunk said the opportunity to visit with alumni who share fond memories of the University is enjoyable.
"It is rewarding to talk to find out what SIUC was like when our alumni attended. I'm amazed to learn about our history through those who have been here in the past," she said.
Nanditha Balasubramanian, director of annual giving, trains and mentors the student telefunders. She said the interaction between alumni and students is a key component of the program's success.
"The Annual Fund allows us to continue bridging the gap between alumni and students. Many of our students have a special knack for striking up a meaningful conversation with our alumni," she said. "It not only educates our students about the University's history, but provides our alumni with an opportunity to rekindle their memories and receive an update of what is occurring on campus."
The Annual Fund generates about $850,000 each year, according to Balasubramanian. She said the students are ambassadors for the University.
"I am proud to be working with such a talented and dedicated group of students. They truly symbolize the best of the University," she said. "Each student brings skill sets and unique characteristics to the Annual Giving program and realizes the critical role they play in our advancing our University."
Rickey N. McCurry, vice chancellor for institutional advancement and CEO of the SIU Foundation, said the efforts of the students are essential to the University's fund-raising objectives, especially as part of the Opportunity Through Excellence Campaign for Southern.
"We are in the midst of a $100-million comprehensive capital campaign. Every gift counts when an institution has a goal of this magnitude," he said. "The efforts of our student telefunders don't go unnoticed; they are truly vital to our success."
In addition to Klunk, several students have gone above and beyond their goals and generated substantial support for the University. Below, their names, year in school and major, along with a quote depicting their experience as SIU Foundation telefunders, are listed in alphabetical order by hometown:
Holly Tozer, a senior majoring in public relations who has raised $70,000. "I enjoy speaking to our alumni and hearing about their experience as students. I am proud to be working with the SIU Foundation; it has helped me enhance communication skills that will assist me in the public relations field."
Tori Griffith, a senior majoring in elementary education has raised $53,000. "I'm a small-town girl who transferred from a junior college to a large university. I was lost until the SIU Foundation hired me. The job created an opportunity for me to assist in improving the University in addition to financing my education. In addition, I have made lasting friendships with my co-workers and alumni."
Ashley R. Hubbard, a junior majoring in mortuary science who has raised $10,000 in one semester. "This job has enhanced my communication skills and ability to interact with people. I have acquired leadership and internal office knowledge that will be an asset to my career plans."
Ashley Doty, a senior majoring in administration of justice who has raised $100,000. "As a paid student caller, I have had the opportunity to undergo many significant experiences that have helped me become a well-rounded student. I have acquired a broad range of skills, such as creating an amiable environment, informing our alumni, practicing customer service, and, of course, raising needed funds for my soon-to-be alma mater."
Andrew Gaines, a senior majoring in journalism who has raised $39,000. "I had never done any fund-raising prior to becoming an SIU Foundation telefunder. But the training and leadership that I was provided here helped me succeed to a point that I was promoted to student supervisor. This experience has aided my leadership skills, confidence and career ambitions."
Whitney Priebe, a senior majoring in journalism who has raised more than $80,000. "Student telefunders are in situations where we exercise patience, persistence and conversational adjustment. I have learned the importance of improvisational communication skills that will assist me in the advertising field. Just as advertising sells products, we sell the satisfaction of supporting Southern Illinois University Carbondale, which has provided many opportunities for its alumni."
The SIU Foundation, associated with the Division of Institutional Advancement, is an independent nonprofit organization that provides alumni and friends a means to invest in the University's future. Established in 1942, the foundation solicits and administers gifts from private sources in support of SIUC's academic mission. Private funding is generated through annual giving, planned giving, major giving, corporate and foundation relations and campaigns.
For more information, call the SIU Foundation at 618/453-4900, or log on to www.siuf.org/campaign.
Supporting their University – Student telefunders who work for the SIU Foundation play a vital role in the annual fund-raising efforts. This years telefunders are, front row: Ashley Hubbard, Glen Ellyn; Ashley Klunk, Jerseyville; Tori Griffith, Dieterich; and Whitney Priebe, Madison Ala. Back row: Andrew Gaines, Watseka; Holly Tozer, Dawson; and Ashley Doty, Shumway.
Supporting her University – Ashley Doty, a senior from Shumway studying administration of justice, has raised $100,000 for Southern Illinois University Carbondale working as a student telefunder for the SIU Foundation. "As a paid student caller, I have had the opportunity to undergo many significant experiences that have helped me become a well-rounded student," Doty said. "I have acquired a broad range of skills, such as creating an amiable environment, informing our alumni, practicing customer service, and, of course, raising needed funds for my soon-to-be alma mater."