Talk to me

Drew Stone is a phonathon student who calls alums seeking support.

When he’s not studying organisms, fishing or hunting, Drew Stone spends much of his time calling University of Nebraska at Kearney alums.

As a student fundraiser at the University of Nebraska Foundation, Stone calls alums seeking support through various fundraisers.

“It’s neat that we get to call all different kinds of people from all over the place,” he said. “A lot of times people tell us stories about back when they were in school. I also really like the other students I work with. It’s a fun atmosphere to work in.”

About 30 to 35 phonathon students call University of Nebraska alumni year round.

The foundation hires the students through student referrals, campus referrals, as well as ads in the student newspapers and job postings on campus.

Kristen Rock, director of phonathons and special giving at the University of Nebraska Foundation, said students have been calling alums since the phonathon started more than 20 years ago.

“The thought has always been who better to ask for an alum’s support than a current student,” she said. “Our students have the day-to-day experience of seeing private giving at work.”

Stone, an Endicott, Neb., native said some of his most memorable calls made him realize what a small world it is.

“I actually called a guy in California, and he knew people who lived in a town really close to where I grew up,” he said. “He told me all they’d done in the town. That was really neat calling someone so far away, yet he knew about the town I’m from.”

Rock said that the students who call alums are well informed and prepared to talk with each person.

“We train them to be informed about the colleges, campuses and current issues,” she said. “They also understand that they are representatives of the foundation and in some ways are our best source for sharing what the foundation does on campus with their peers.”

Stone is a senior biology and health education major at UNK. He’s hoping to teach high school biology someday, but in the mean time, he enjoys his work with UNK alums.

Along with striking up conversations with them, Stone updates their information, lets them know about fundraisers and asks if they are interested in donating.

“A lot of people are really happy to talk to us,” he said. “I think they like to know the college is keeping track of what they’re doing and everything. Not everyone donates, but people are always happy to talk to us.”

If you’d like to learn more about the areas of need of each of the four University of Nebraska campuses, please contact the Foundation at 800-432-3216.

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