Through the Student Lens – Making an impact on the community one phone call at a time

Jordan Wilson ‘24
Major: Psychology / Minor: Education
Hometown: New York

How do Student Engagement Ambassadors create connections among the Wheaton community and lift up its members? Meet a student caller who is consistently advancing the college’s mission and making an impact with each number dialed—all while enriching his own educational experience. Take a look “Through the Student Lens.”

What is your favorite part about being a Student Engagement Ambassador and why do you feel your work is important to your fellow students?

My favorite part about it is being able to connect with the older alumni and discuss how the college has grown since they attended. Additionally, when they share different tips and tricks in regard to how to navigate through campus. This work is important for both my peers and me because generous donations allow this campus to continue to provide the numerous opportunities that make being on this campus enjoyable. 

Student Engagement Ambassadors have been making calls to the Wheaton community to encourage attendance at Wheaton’s upcoming events with President Whelan. Can you describe how those conversations have been going? How has it been reaching out to the Wheaton community about such an exciting event?

The conversations have been very lively and enjoyable because this is the first time we’ve implemented this idea and alumni have been very receptive. Even those who I’ve only been able to reach by leaving a voicemail, they respond quickly to the email that was sent prior and express their gratitude for just simply taking the time to reach out to them. Due to the fact that I’ve received nothing but gratitude and positive feedback it has been very delightful to reach out to the Wheaton community which brings about a feeling of talking to my extended family members. 

Soon Student Engagement Ambassadors will be making thank you calls to donors to thank them for their Wheaton gifts, what excites you about this new aspect of your job? What are you looking forward to?

Actually, I was one of the first callers to begin thanking donors and it has added to the lively experience. Donors were very grateful to simply hear, “thank you.” I’m looking forward to continuing to express my gratitude to all generous donors because no matter how small the gift, it goes a long way, and donors need to be aware of that.

What are some of the most common questions you get from alumni, parents and guardians when you are making phone calls and what do you say to those parents and guardians who respond that they already give to Wheaton through their student’s tuition payments?

I’ve never had to respond to a possible donor expressing that they already give money. Instead, they might share that they cannot donate immediately and will plan to once they are able to, which is a very understandable response. Surprisingly, in my experience, they do not even ask about updates in regards to changes on the campus, but more focus on the caller’s experience at Wheaton thus far. For this, I’ve shared that Wheaton has provided me with a unique experience that has taught me how to best adapt and navigate the world beyond school, which I’ve been grateful for. Simply being one of the campuses that were open through COVID-19 because of the strict guidelines that we successfully implemented, was a positive influence on my education experience. I was able to enjoy the college campus despite the restrictions, and now we’re back to normal! 

The job of a Student Engagement Ambassador contains all the elements of an experiential learning opportunity. How do you feel this Wheaton experience has helped set you up for success post-college?

This Wheaton experience has allowed me to become more comfortable with being uncomfortable in regard to learning how to think on my toes. For example, just this past weekend I was on call and noticed that a Wheaton alum and I shared the same birthday. With this information, I went completely off script and used it to start the conversation while remembering to incorporate the key points of the call. Thankfully, I was able to not only receive a donation, but also a new friend that I could look out for when they come back to celebrate their class reunion! I believe this tool will be a very important tool to utilize post-college specifically in regard to what I would like to pursue.

Photo by Luis Fernando McGuill-Scott ’25

Jordan is just one of the many engaging students here at Wheaton. As parents and guardians, you are an integral part of our community. “Through the Student Lens” brings the campus to you, as seen through the eyes of our students, the many roles they play and the experiences they gain during their time here at Wheaton.