By Sarah Gittleman

The KU Foundation and Alumni Relations Office has proven a success, doubling the amount of profit made during the fall 2014 semester.

During the event, student callers work to contact KU alumni who graduated between 1950 to 2007 asking for their support for the university.  In this first semester, students have raised over $52,000 in pledges and donations made by alumni.

Carlie Elicker, developmental associate for the foundation and overseer of the phonathon, explained that support from alumni is crucial with state cuts to education.  Any alumni who graduated before 1980 attended KU when the cost of education was funded up to 80 percent by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  Now, they contribute to less than 25 percent of the university budget.

Money raised towards the annual fund is put into scholarships and faculty-supervised student research.  The foundation has also brought Richard Yeungling and a personal representative of the Eagles to speak on campus.

But the phone calls carry out a larger mission than just raising money.  They also provide a way for the university to reach out to alumni.

“Calling is also about keeping the bond alive between Kutztown and its alumni,” student supervisor Evan Sisti said. “We talk to them about current events happening on campus, let them share their own stories from when they went to Kutztown and also thank them for their support.”

“It’s rewarding watching students […] interact with alumni and being associated with something much more respected and successful than in [previous] years,” Elicker said.

This is Elicker’s first year working with the KU Foundation, joining them after his graduation from the university in 2013.

Sisti is also excited about this semester’s success.  He has been working for the phonathon for three years and also sees the rewarding factor of his work there.

“I love interacting with alumni and gaining insight of the future from their personal experiences,” he said.
The KU phonathon calls will cease during winter break and students will return to the phones in the spring semester.  The foundation hopes for an equally successful second half of the year.

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