Making a difference, one call at a time

Telephone program

Five nights a week, rotating groups of current students and graduands set up their calling stations from the University’s Development Office. Depending on the day and the week, the callers dial thousands of phone numbers in the hope of reaching you and having a meaningful conversation.

The University of Sydney’s annual telephone program has two main goals; reaching out to alumni and friends to reconnect and engage with alumni, and to highlight how supporters of the University can make a difference by making a small contribution towards various scholarships, research initiatives and faculty projects.

Lucy Anderson, a second-year student completing her Bachelor of Arts, has been a student caller for two years and is grateful for the opportunity to hone her skills. “It’s so important to listen carefully to what someone is saying and be in tune to what they’re feeling to be able to continue the call, and that can sometimes be quite challenging,” she says.

With more than 5300 people giving through the telephone program in 2013 alone, there are certainly many positive experiences to share. “My favourite part of calling is getting to hear people’s stories of studying at Sydney and how, or if, it relates to what they’re doing now – some graduates are doing some pretty cool things,” Lucy adds.

“I remember talking to one engineering grad who was working on developing a way of putting out fires more effectively from the air. He was so positive about his time at Sydney and where it had got him.” Another time, Lucy was lucky enough to make an exciting personal connection. “I got to speak with someone who had studied with my grandfather!”

When asked what she would most like alumni or friends to know about the telephone program, Lucy responded: “We want everyone to feel connected and to get involved financially if possible, but it is about participation and building up the community, not large amounts of money.”

The Sydney Development Fund would like to thank all alumni and friends who have shown their support through the telephone program.