Norwich Calling

Class Giving Phone-a-thons foster alumni-student connections while supporting the university

There is nothing NU alumni love more than telling Norwich stories to other members of the Norwich family. It is a tradition as old as the university itself, and one that gains momentum with every graduating class. These collective stories, told generation after generation, create a continuous oral history of Norwich University and her graduates, forming the virtual “glue” that binds the Norwich family together.

A Winning Team: Corps and civilian students representing all academic disciplines took part in Norwich University’s Annual Fund phone-a-thon sponsored last fall by the Class Giving Office. (Photo by Mark Collier.)

A Winning Team: Corps and civilian students representing all academic disciplines took part in Norwich University’s Annual Fund phone-a-thon sponsored last fall by the Class Giving Office. (Photo by Mark Collier.)

At no time is this more apparent than during the fall and spring Class Giving phone-a-thons, whereby current Norwich students call alumni and ask them to support the university with a gift. Very often these conversations turn into trips down memory lane, melting away the years since the alum has left the Hill.

Such fond reminiscences are not lost on today’s Norwich students. “The best part about working the phone-a-thon is hearing the stories about Norwich’s past from our alumni and relating it to my experience at Norwich today,” says Jonathan LeBlanc, a sophomore criminal justice major from Enfield, Conn.

According to LeBlanc, Norwich alumni also love hearing about what’s going on at school and learning how their support strengthens every aspect of the Norwich experience, from computer labs to service trips. “It really helps keep them connected with the institution on a personal level,” LeBlanc says.

Tiffany Neeb, a junior from White Plains, Md., who has worked several phone-a-thons, agrees. “I love how so many alumni just love talking to students,” she says. Neeb, who is double-majoring in psychology and Spanish, also emphasizes that students get more than just pure enjoyment out of their participation. Some receive valuable career advice. “This past semester while working the phone-a-thon, I gained a mentor who has offered to assist me in taking the necessary steps to achieve my dream goal of becoming a VA psychologist,” Neeb says.

Over a two-week period last fall, Norwich students reached out to more than 10,000 alumni, making their calls from the development offices on the fourth floor of Jackman Hall. The Class Giving Office’s goal is to connect with all alumni and share how their gifts can have an impact on the university. They also want alumni to know that their gift, large or small, benefits the giver as well by increasing the value of their Norwich degree. How? By helping keep tuition affordable, which allows Norwich to attract the best and brightest students. In addition, higher philanthropic participation by alumni translates to higher rankings in U.S. News and World Report. But the greatest benefit of all is the satisfaction of knowing that all gifts to the Norwich Fund directly support the essential operations of the institution, can be spent as they come in, and will be directed to the area of greatest need.

When you get the call this spring, think back to your days on the Hill and share something meaningful with one of today’s Norwich students. – D.L.W.

Comments are closed.