Archived Voice Articles

Phonathon night

Have you ever wondered what's behind the phone call you get from a Dordt College student? The call originates from one of eighteen phone stations in a 20- by 25-foot upstairs room in the maintenance building. Students arrive around 6:30 p.m. and work for two or three hours, calling first numbers on the east coast and gradually moving across the country.

"Callers are assigned numbers to call based on where they come from," says Wes Fopma, director of the Dordt College Annual Fund. For example, Sandra Viss, a junior caller from Modesto, California, calls and enjoys visiting with alumni, parents, and friends from Modesto and Ripon, California. Callers try to average six contacts an hour.

"It is hard work and can sometimes be discouraging," says Fopma, considering that many of the calls are not answered, connect to answering machines, or reach the wrong number. "But the stories they could tell!" he adds. More often than not students are rewarded for their calling by seeing the generosity and love that many alumni, parents, and friends have for Dordt College. And they have a good time together. Callers earn the right to breaks to play miniature golf, darts, and trivial pursuit as rewards for successful calls.

This fall thirty-four students talked to almost 14,000 people, raising a little over $360,000 in gifts and pledges. But the calling doesn't stop after first semester. Alumni are called again during the spring for a special need project, and parents and friends are called for the Spring Debt Reduction Drive.

Fopma encourages you to take time when students call to visit with them and ask them how they are doing. They enjoy the friendly calls and usually share the best calls with the rest of the crew.