Dec 4, 2020 | LIFE | By Abby Mercier | Illustration by Bibi Powers
In my first year of college, I was fortunate enough to land an on-campus job at Colorado College’s campus call center, DIALogue.
The job requires each student caller to work a minimum of two shifts a week, each three to four hours long — although there is almost always the option to work more. The pay grade is the higher of the two levels the Student Employment Office offers, paying $12.40 per hour, plus tips.
Tips, you say?! Yes, tips.
As student callers, you are tasked with engaging with parents of current students and alumni ranging from recent graduates to folks who graduated in the 1950s.
It is expected that you have a thoughtful and meaningful conversation with those who are generous enough to pick up the phone. After updating the alumni’s demographic information, we love to have an engaging conversation that allows us to connect about the many special ways that CC has impacted our lives.
At the end of each call, we always address the college’s Annual Fund.
The spiel sounds something like, “The Annual Fund is a very important fund for all students on campus; it is especially beneficial for students who receive financial aid, as it is a major contributor to lowering students’ cost of attendance. However, the Annual Fund does support all students in that it funds the things that make CC so special, like club sports (I play club soccer, so you would be supporting my endeavors), lab equipment, field trips, the Outdoor Education Center, the Writing Center and Quantitative Reasoning Center tutors, and much more!”
Then, we graciously invite the alumni/parents to give a gift to the Annual Fund. Most are excited to be a part of making the college equitable and accessible for students, some are not in a position to give, and others will hang up on you.
As callers, the point is not to earn ourselves tips. The point of the conversation is to strike up a relationship between the school and the alumni/parent. If this relationship leads to a gift that is put on a credit card (instead of something sent in the mail) or was given the first time the caller invited them, then the caller will receive a $1 tip. We do not receive tips specifically based on the amount of money one gives.
I’m doing this job because I care about its mission and understand that the efforts of us student callers could be the difference between whether a student can attend CC or not.
At DIALogue, there is an amazing opportunity for personal growth and professional development. If you stick to the student calling position, learn from your mistakes, and are a good teammate, you may have the opportunity to become a student manager.
This year, I am technically a student manager — although, this looks a bit different with the pandemic. Since there are so few callers allowed in the building due to risk mitigation efforts, I often continue to call like I used to as a student caller.
In a normal year, I would be charged with answering students’ questions, talking on the phone to donors, managing the calling pools, and sending out nightly statistic reports.
I love the people I work with; most of us have worked together for years (one of my best friends got me the job in the first place). My boss, Angel Martinez, was a student manager when I first got the job. Now that he has graduated, Martinez has a professional job in the Office of Annual Giving. Cool, right?
If you’re looking for a supportive work environment, where we make each other tea or coffee and always have a running supply of chocolate and fruit snacks, DIALogue may be the place for you.
My favorite part about working at the campus call center is the meaningful conversations and pieces of advice that I often glean from those I talk to. I’ve gotten everything from recommendations about classes and professors to possible internship opportunities.
Working at DIALogue has given me the opportunity to give back to the CC community and to learn more about it — maybe it can do the same for you, too!