The most beloved members of Wheaton’s Advancement staff are our dedicated student Phonathon Callers. What is it like to connect with the Wheaton community from their dorm rooms, homes and apartments as the Phonathon team operates remotely this year? Why do they so firmly believe in their efforts to support the college? Meet one of Wheaton’s Phonathon students making an impact and see Wheaton Through the Student Lens.
Violet Windham ’22
Why did you decide to become a Phonathon Caller at Wheaton?
Wheaton has provided me with so many wonderful experiences in terms of academics, extracurriculars, and positive personal connections. After my first year here, I felt motivated to find out how I could give back to the school. As someone who enjoys connecting with and learning about other people as well as encouraging engagement in philanthropy, I decided to become a Phonathon Caller for the Wheaton Fund. I felt that this job would also be a great opportunity to learn more about networking and development. My time working at the Phonathon has been an incredibly rewarding experience as I have found that this position perfectly aligns with my values and interests.
What is your perspective on being a Phonathon student in a pandemic (from the comfort of your dorm room in Emerson House!)?
The global health crisis has put so much into perspective for me, and I am especially appreciative of the resources and support that have been provided by the Wheaton community these past few months. Although I’m working remotely from my dorm room, I feel that I have been equipped with all the tools that I need to succeed at my job. I also feel so supported by my boss, Patty, who made care packages for the whole team and has been so understanding and kind. I dearly miss the environment of the call center and working side-by-side with other students, but being a Phonathon Caller continues to be such a fulfilling experience despite the circumstances. It actually feels particularly rewarding because I know that I’m doing my part to strengthen the community during an incredibly difficult and tumultuous time.
What is your most memorable call where your outreach raised money for the college and
how did that make you feel?
The most memorable call I made was to an alumna who had not donated to the college for several years. At first, I expected her to politely refuse to speak with me, but we ended up having a really lovely conversation. She told me about her life, and expressed gratitude that her daughter, who had also graduated from Wheaton, had had a wonderful experience at the college. We discussed the importance of the Wheaton Fund, and I assured her that her past contributions surely made all the difference for some students. Towards the end of our call, the alumna told me that she greatly appreciated speaking with a student representative, and contributed to the Fund! Her kind words brought a smile to my face and I was touched by her generosity. Many Wheaton alums that I’ve spoken with through the Phonathon have shared such incredible stories and experiences from their lives before, during and after their time at Wheaton.
From your perspective, why do you feel it’s important to raise money for the college?
Raising money for Wheaton is important to me because it helps keep so many aspects of the community afloat. The Wheaton Fund allows the school to survive AND thrive, and we see this in action across campus, every day. My mom has always stressed the importance of contributing to the institutions that have supported you in your journey, so she encouraged me to become a Young Circle Member of the Mary Lyon Leadership Society by donating to the college earlier this year. It is a priority of mine to ensure that I continue to support the college in any way that I can, and I’m grateful to be in a unique position where I am able to both raise and donate money for the Wheaton Fund.
Why do you think it is important for parents to make Wheaton a philanthropic priority?
When parents contribute to the Wheaton Fund, they make a difference in the lives of their own children as well as other Wheaton students. Philanthropy from parents is especially appreciated because it gives students greater chances of success in the future. Among many other benefits, donations make opportunities available to students who otherwise might not experience them. By making Wheaton a philanthropic priority, parents show that they care deeply about and believe in their child’s generation.
How do you feel you have been directly impacted by philanthropy to the college?
Through the generous donations to the Wheaton Fund, I have been able to access many of the amazing opportunities and programs that are offered by the college. As a visual arts minor, I am certain that donations to the designated giving priority of Arts and Cultural Learning have played a large part in my experiences in my art courses. I have also been lucky enough to participate in activities such as volunteering projects, class field trips, and other social or athletic events. Because of my involvement in the Wheaton Fund, I am constantly reminded of how deeply and directly the Wheaton community, including myself, is impacted by philanthropy to the college!
Through the Student Lens
Violet is just one of the many engaging students here at Wheaton. As parents, you are an integral part of our community. Through the Student Lens will bring the campus to you, as seen through the eyes of our students, the many roles they play and experiences they gain during the time here at Wheaton.