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Record-breaking phonathon raises thousands
Thirty-five Sussex undergraduates have raised £147,000 in gifts and pledges from former students during the University’s most successful telephone campaign ever.
The team of current students, who were recruited and trained by the Development and Alumni Relations Office (DARO), spent five weeks telephoning 2,500 alumni to find out what they have been up to since leaving Sussex, inform them of news and developments on campus and raise support for the Sussex Fund.
The Sussex Fund provides help and support to students who find themselves in unexpected financial difficulties, offers scholarships to attract the brightest minds worldwide, and supports other activities to enrich the student experience on campus.
In addition to the record £147,000 donated and pledged to the Sussex Fund from UK alumni, the student callers put in two night shifts to raise $8,500 from alumni in the USA.
Alex Bell, Annual Fund Assistant in DARO, organises the ‘phonathon’. While studying Film Studies at Sussex, he was a caller back in 2008.
So Alex knows from personal experience what the student callers gain from their work. He says: “Our student team really enjoy talking to our alumni and are quite inspired, both by their generosity and by their successes after Sussex.”
Third-year music student John Schaffer was serenaded by an alumnus with his squeezebox, while Lawrence Bricher, a second-year history undergraduate, was invited for tea in Lewes by “a lovely lady”. Maud Start, a first-year English and Media undergraduate, exchanged cookery tips during one call, hanging up with a new recipe for Italian braised fennel. And Naomi Dixon, who is in her second year studying anthropology, was surprised and touched to hear of so many alumni who met their life partners at Sussex.
The phonathon also provides an excellent opportunity for long-term support from alumni, with a growing number of former students interested in remembering Sussex in their will.