Since opening in March 2010, the Claflin University Call Center has raised more than $228,000 dollars to support the University. Call Center Manager Marilyn Keenan says a large reason for this success is due to the nine graduating seniors who’ve worked the phones and provided student leadership for underclassmen.
“Our seniors at the Call Center have been remarkable in terms of generating donations for the University,” said Keenan. “Their determination to add to the Claflin legacy is a testament to their love for the institution and hard work.”
The Call Center has been a mechanism to reach out to thousands of alumni and friends via telephone. It has also been a source of valuable work experience for the Class of 2012.
Philana Peyton, a mass communications major from Atlanta, says the Call Center experience is a great addition to her resume and has already impressed prospective employers. She says their work at the Call Center is one reason the alumni giving rate is 45 percent, the highest among HBCUs by far.
“I definitely understand the impact we have with respect to alumni giving,” said Peyton. “My favorite part of calling is that alumni are pushing me to be better and do better.”
Peyton says Claflin alumni are very happy to hear from them. But they are even more eager to hear about student success stories at the University, she noted.
She says her favorite part of working at the Call Center was the camaraderie the student staff built with each other. Peyton hopes to attend graduate school at the University of California-Berkley and later become a college professor specializing in film studies.
On April 27, the University held a special program to acknowledge the student’s hard work at the Call Center. Martha Scott Smith, director of public affairs/foundations for AT&T South Carolina, spoke to students at the event.
“I feel as though our alumni respond well and contribute to our education,” said Barry White, an elementary education major from New York City. “Just the fact that our alumni are reaching back and staying in contact, that’s keeping the legacy alive. The Call Center keeps the older and newer generations of alumni engaged. They say, ‘I’m proud of Claflin’ to me all the time.”
White has even called his fraternity brothers from Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. who has graduated on his cell phone to contribute to the University. He has interviews with several schools in the Orangeburg area and hopes to establish himself as a teacher/mentor to students.
Others graduating seniors from the Call Center are: Cymone Davis, Ariel Manning, Allegra Tims, Marisa Cunningham, William Hicks, Toni Talley and Terrence Orr.
Vice President for Institutional Advancement Rev. Whittaker V. Middleton expressed his gratitude for the student support in raising funds for the institution’s Annual Fund and capital campaign.
“Our students are becoming visionary leaders in the art of philanthropy before they even graduate,” said Middleton. “We applaud their commitment and are thrilled they will continue to contribute to noble mission of their alma mater.”