Phone-a-thon’s a success


Mariah Howland

Phone-a-thon Coordinator Anna Liccione

After a 1-year hiatus due to a change in director and a lack of staff, the annual phone-a-thon to contact alumni was back in full swing Mar. 10-17.

Over the course of eight nights, 14 students worked with Phone-a-thon Coordinator Anna Liccione to offer news about the Johnson State campus to alumni as well as to encourage donations.

Donors would be able to specify what program their money should be filtered into if they were inclined to do so, but most allowed their donations to go to the annual fund. This fund is controlled by JSC President Barbara Murphy, and all of the money collected is filtered into areas around campus based on financial need.

One alumnus, who had been connected with the previous Director of Alumni Relations Sally Laughlin, specified that he would pledge $50 toward Extended Degree Program (EDP) students and $100 toward the rugby team since he was a rugby player during his formative years at Johnson.

“I had a really nice gentleman who is a ’91 alum and is now the director of annual giving at Colby Sawyer College in New Hampshire,” said Liccione, phone-a-thon coordinator. “It was about 8:15 p.m. I was on the phone with him, and he asked me how many people I had in the office, and I had like seven people at that point. He said ‘Well, I’m going to give you a challenge. If you can come up with an amount that you want them to raise before you finish for the night I’ll match it with an extra hundred dollars.’ His pledge was originally $50.”

According to student-phone-operator Spencer Alton, the job was repetitive, and callers were mainly just leaving messages on answering machines, but occasionally an alumnus was excited to talk, and interesting conversations arose.

“This one time, I called this man, whose name I forget, and he went on this tangent about moral fiber and character, and where the school was ethically,” Alton said. “He had to be really convinced that the school was still the place he had attended before he decided to give any money. It was a very weird self-evaluating experience I had been unprepared for.”

Nobody knows yet how much money was made during the phone-a-thon, because alums had the option of paying with a credit card the night they were contacted or receiving a pledge slip to be mailed back to the school. Liccione also said that the student-phone-operators, Dezarae Thompson, Georgia Duncan, Sarah Sienna, Laura Redmond, Melissa Mattei, Michelle Mainus, Spencer Alton, Tia Drake, Angela Hunt, Sarah Mott, Alison Thatcher, Kemal Cross, Lindsay Brown, and Sidney Laskiewicz, may do a 2-hour followup phone-a-thon to reach out to alumni again, and won’t have a final tally of the donations until after Apr. 15.

On the last two days, alumni were informed that they’d be receiving their alumni magazine, Johnson Views, in the mail, and if they were interested in what Johnson State College students were up to, they could always go to the Basement Medicine website.

“Anna Liccione did an amazing job running and organizing this event,” said Duncan. “And even with how complicated everything was, she was always smiling, and still making sure we all had a good time.”