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Student Fundraiser’s Job Supports Students and Faculty

A student worker for the UC Foundation Telefund program brought in more than $200,000 in pledges last year.

Date: 3/6/2006
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Dottie Stover
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Christy Searcy on the job
Christy Searcy, on the job for the UC Telefund

Christy Searcy feels she is making a difference as she and her peers juggle a work routine that keeps them on their academic schedule to graduation. Searcy, a senior psychology major from Hamilton, Ohio, graduates in December 2006. She is one of nearly 55 UC students who work for the UC Telefund.

This facet of the UC Foundation Annual Fund recruits student workers to reach out to alumni by way of a calling center, offering them news about their college and asking for their support on behalf of the Annual Fund. Mark Jorgensen, associate vice president for the UC Foundation, says the UC Telefund is a student outreach program that most large public universities utilize on a year-round basis. Donations to the Annual Fund result in unrestricted operating income for UC, offsetting reductions in state funding. The money raised can go toward scholarships, classroom materials, student programs and services or technology upgrades.

Over the past two years, the UC Foundation reports the UC Telefund – located on the lower level of the Faculty Center – has raised more than $2.8 million from 29,410 pledges from alumni and parents. In Fiscal Year 2005, the UC Telefund raised a total of $1,516,833.

Judy See, associate director of annual giving for the UC Foundation, says that Christy is one of the program’s most successful fundraisers, bringing in 1,457 pledges that amounted to $207,085.50 last year alone. In December, See says a single pledge resulting in a call from Christy amounted to $15,000 – a considerably larger sum than the typical $50-100 students may raise from a phone call.

Christy Searcy on the job

See adds that since starting with the UC Telefund in 2002, Christy alone has secured 3,140 pledges and raised $434,230.

“A lot of the alumni I talk with will say, ‘I really had a good time at UC, and that’s one of the reasons I want to give back. I had a good time and I got a good degree,’” Christy says. “You’ll come across some people who are really enthusiastic about talking with you, and that’s really nice.”

“That’s one reason that U.S. News and World Report measures alumni participation as part of its rankings,” says Jorgensen. “They figure that if the alumni give back to the university, then the alumni had a good experience while they were there, they’ve maintained connections after they left, and they want to continue to help the university remain strong.”

Many UC programs have benefited from Christy’s fundraising for the UC Telefund. They include UC’s annual spring Worldfest celebration of the university’s connections around the world, a student-organized celebration that features lectures, concerts, cultural performances and leadership-building.

As she looks back on her own college experience, Christy has just one regret – that she didn’t get involved sooner in all of the activities that the campus has to offer. “I wish I wouldn’t have waited to get involved, because the sooner you get occupied in those activities, the more people you’ll meet and the more things you’ll get to do.” In addition to her job with the UC Telefund, Christy also holds a job as a student worker for the College of Law and is a member of the Network for Undergraduate African-American Majors in Psychology (NUAAMP). She has previously participated in programs that support UC’s African-American students.

As Christy looks ahead to graduation next December and to becoming a new alumni, her advice to other recent graduates is, “Come back and visit. So many people come here, then move away and never come back. Don’t be a stranger.”

Read more about the Annual Fund and making a gift to UC.

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