While most Hamilton students are leaving the dining halls and trudging through the snow to their study spots at 6:30 this evening, many Hamilton alumni and parents are just arriving home after a long day’s work. Five nights a week from September through April, 32 students gather in the Anderson-Connell Alumni Center, phoning alumni and parents from coast to coast to encourage gifts to the college’s Annual Fund and to discuss the most recent on- and off-campus Hamiltonian happenings.
Tonight, Hamilton student managers Mark Donovan ’11 and Angela LoSchiavo ’11 are overseeing the phonathon efforts of nine student callers. In addition to supervising the calls and troubleshooting any problems, Donovan and LoSchiavo provide the student callers with the incentive of friendly competition in the form of a point system — the pledge of a gift weighing in at one point, credit card gifts at three points and updated business information at a hefty five points.
Donovan, recently promoted from caller to student manager, remarks, “It’s interesting to be on the other side. Calling’s fun because we get to sell the school and compare experiences with the alums.” Alumni often ask caller Mallory Joel ’11 where their gifts go on the Hill, and Joel responds, “They go toward everything from keeping the lights running to supporting the clubs and programs that Hamilton students enjoy.”
Another solicitor, Alden Masters ’11, comments, “I enjoy talking to alumni because I know that will be me as of May 22nd.” And while the callers aim to collect gifts, they also collect stories. Masters’ best conversation has been with an alumnus from the 1980s who revealed that he had lived in ELS’s uninsulated attic. “It makes me appreciate what we have at Hamilton today,” Masters says.