By Mary Duncan
More than two dozen students are dialing for dollars in the annual Phonathon at Missouri Southern State University.
The goal is to raise $82,500 for the Southern Annual Fund. Last year’s goal was $78,650.
For the past 30 years, Missouri Southern students have participated in the Phonathon to help raise money for the fund, which is designed to allow the university to focus on the greatest needs on campus that are not met by tuition and government funding. The donations are used to fulfill a variety of needs.
“All of the donations that we receive go right back into the university,” said Michael Fontana, development officer of funds and scholarships at Missouri Southern. “We use them (the donations) for scholarships and educational programs for our students.”
The Southern Annual Fund also supports building development, financial rewards, and recognition for outstanding teachers and staff members.
The students are making the calls to alumni and friends of Missouri Southern to ask for their support. The campaign, which began Saturday, will end on Wednesday, Feb. 27. The students work almost daily from 6 to 9 p.m.
“It fits into my schedule pretty well, plus I wanted to help out,” said Ryan Jackson, a freshman mass communications major. “It’s really been a lot of fun. We get a lot more people that want to donate than people that don’t.”
Dylan Wilson, of Wilson-Bennett Technology, supervisor of the Phonathon, teaches the students how to use the equipment, helps keep them motivated and deals with any issues that arise.
“It is really exciting,” Wilson said Monday. “The students have been great.”
Said Jackson: “There are a lot of incentives that Dylan gives us. He keeps us motivated and helps us any time we need it. He has been really fun.”
There is no minimum donation requirement, and anyone may donate.
“I think it is great,” Fontana said. “I think it is very exciting to have this much contact with alumni and have our current students talk with our former students. It is a great way to get that history and passion out there.”
Victoria Miller, a Phonathon caller and freshman environmental health major, said: “It’s just such a great opportunity. I’m absolutely excited to help out Missouri Southern, and it helps me out, too. I will be able to use the money I make here for spring break.
“The highest donation I’ve gotten, so far, was $150. Everyone in the room cheered, so it was just really exciting.”
The Phonathon had raised $5,500 by Sunday night. The callers can accept payments by check and credit card.
More than 9,000 people were contacted during the 2012 Phonathon.
THE TOTAL GOAL for the Southern Annual Fund drive, which includes the Phonathon as well as separate solicitations for faculty, staff, businesses, the Board of Governors, the foundation board and others, is $106,700. To make a pledge to the Southern Annual Fund, people may contact Michael Fontana at 417-659-4436 or firstname.lastname@example.org.