Goodbye PhD in Aerodynamics, hello Magdalene Telephone Campaign!

The first thing that normally comes to mind when the telephone campaign is mentioned is, ‘so you’re calling people to ask for money?’.  And that is in part true, however fundraising is only a small part of our efforts. A significant element is genuinely finding out how our alumni are doing, and what they’ve been up to since leaving. As it is often said, the time spent at university is regarded as one of the best chapters of your life; hence most people are delighted to receive the call!

Magdalene is a great College (I’ve been around for 8 years now, and that is as true today as it was 8 years ago), hence talking about this is easy; most alumni agree with this. As a student caller, we update alumni on College news, find out more about them, invite them to College, etc.; and in return they often end up sharing some funny stories, and some useful advice about the ‘real world’. Better still, those alumni you are lucky enough to speak with are usually ‘matched’ to you based on your interests, which makes for a great two-way conversation.

Although, as an Engineer, I’ve been calling a lot of Engineers. So perhaps it’s an Engineering thing, but a lot of Engineers haven’t updated their ‘home’ contact details (at least this is true for the under 30s.).  But anyway, so far, I’ve spent a great deal of time talking to the parents, as most of them no longer live at home. The parents are great! They usually end up telling me lots about what their children have gone on to do, with a lot of enthusiasm; as any proud parent would do!

The conversations I’ve had have been really light-hearted and easy-going; and after our chat most people have been really generous and chosen to give! I’ve even spoken to a few people who initially start by saying they do not wish to donate any money (because they know why we’re calling…), but by the end of the conversation; they are reminded of why they love the College and decide to offer their support.  I think one of the main reasons for this is that we are fundraising for some fantastic projects that will go a long way to help current and future students here at Magdalene. Because ultimately, the aim of this Telephone Campaign is to ensure that all students, regardless of their background, enjoy their time at Magdalene without financial worries; before they too become an alumnus or alumna.

Anyway, this is only day 3 of the Telephone Campaign, but already, the evening sessions have started to go by really quickly. The other Callers are a lot of fun, and super friendly! We’re all quite diverse in terms of Subject, Year, and probably interests too. Some of us know each other, and some of us don’t; hence getting to know each other more as the Campaign goes on is proving to be a lot of fun in itself. No doubt I will soon start to bore them with some Engineering chat, endless ice-hockey stories, and my ‘big’ plan to save the world! But hey, that’s probably another blog for another time…

Tafara Makuni


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