Willie Brown / The Chart

Chase Starr makes call after call while participating in Missouri Southern’s phonathon.

Missouri Southern alumni’s and friends’ phone lines were a-ringing Feb. 20 through March 3 during the MSSU phonathon, put on to raise money for urgent or strategic needs on campus.

These needs have included things like facility improvements and student scholarships. Michael Fontana, development officer of annual fund/scholarships, feels these needs could be rising.

“With impending state cuts, it becomes all the more important to raise private dollars to help the University,” Fontana said.

The Southern Foundation worked with Wilson-Bennett Technology Inc. this year for help with interviewing of callers, advanced calling technology, training and call center supervision.  

“The company has the Phonathon set up on a computer program that cuts back on paperwork, time and overall, makes the process more effective and easy on the callers,” said Kisa Clark, senior mass communications major.  

A call center on campus was set up for approximately 25 hired MSSU students, who had a list of around 13,000 names to call.

Student callers were met by many hang-ups while on the job, but still found it to be more fun that expected.

“It is always worth the occasional hang-up to talk to the sweet old man who went to Joplin Junior College and tells you all about how things were different back in his day, or the alum who had the same major as you and recalls their great experiences with the same professors of classes you are currently in,” Clark said.  

Along with the Phonathon, the Southern Annual Fund involves additional donation requests to certain campus groups, faculty and staff, area businesses and others.  The goal this year is to raise $71,500, 10 percent more than last year.