Portrait of Student Caller Julia Di Natale '22 superimposed over a photo of a phone headset
Student Caller Julia Di Natale ’22 says “it’s inspiring to be part of a community that wants to give back however they can.”
Telefund connects Bryant with supportive alumni
Jan 31, 2021, by Jeffrey Stupakevich

The Bryant Student Telefund program has been connecting with thousands of parents, alumni, and friends for years. This year’s student caller team has talked with more alumni than ever before, and the connections have been valuable for both the students and alumni. Since September, the Telefund crew has called more than 7,000 community members, updating employment data and addresses, reconnecting alumni with campus news, and doubling last year’s total by collecting 662 gifts over the phone.

“The Bryant community is answering the phone, and they are eager to hear from students,” says Development Specialist Julia McLaughlin, who manages the Telefund program. She thinks that remote working, lockdowns, and social isolation all contribute to the increase in phone activity this year.

“It's inspiring to be part of a community that wants to give back however they can.”

“Alumni are proud of our resilient community, and they want to know how they can help,” shares McLaughlin.

Once the student is on a call, they share what it’s like to be on campus during a pandemic and how the integrated public health campaign #BeBryantStrong has helped keep everyone healthy. The students then explain how the Be Bryant Strong Fund is the best way to provide critical support for increased safety, testing, classroom technology, socially distanced student life activities, and emerging areas of greatest need.

The 23-member student caller team is a tight-knit group that enjoys friendly competition, building camaraderie, and encouraging each other to “keep dialing and smiling.” Some are interested in a career in sales, and for them, the experience of calling strangers and asking for a donation is an invaluable résumé builder. Others especially enjoy the conversations that include alumni asking about campus life and the many things that have changed since they graduated.

“I love hearing from older alumni about their experiences at Bryant," said Abby Tesconi ’22, a student caller and an Honors ​Human Resources and Marketing major. “They are so different than mine, but there are always common threads that connect us.”

Alumni are often supportive of the student callers and are ready to offer career advice. During one call, a recent graduate advised a student caller about ways to connect with the alumni network for internship and employment opportunities. “He took the time to show me, step by step, the ways to find Bryant alumni on LinkedIn,” recalls student caller Julia Di Natale ’22, an honors International Business major. She says her favorite calls are when alumni tell her that they weren't going to answer the phone, but once they started speaking to her about Bryant, they're glad they answered, and they make a gift.

“It’s inspiring to be part of a community that wants to give back however they can.”

Each year, many alumni and parents reach out to request a call from the Telefund program. If you would like to hear from a student caller, let us know at bryantfund@bryant.edu. Bryant Telefund calling resumes later this month, so if your phone rings, please pick up—it might be a Bryant student caller!

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