Whilst fundraising is a key aim of the telethon, we hope that both Old Members and students are able to gain more from the experience. One of the 2014 student callers, Joanna Palermo (2010, Archaeology), has shared her thoughts on her experience as a caller this year.
What made you apply for the telethon?
I've appreciated the support that Univ has provided me with financially and academically. I understand that my graduate scholarship and travel grants for work is linked to the support of Old Members, so I thought helping the Annual Fund would be a great way to show my appreciation of the College support over my DPhil.
What was the most enjoyable aspect of the two weeks?
Many of the Old Members were really looking forward to getting a call, so connecting with them, hearing their stories of college, and what they've done over the years made for some very interesting conversations. Behind the scenes, the telethon team had a great dynamic, so in between calls we'd have a laugh or exchange frustrations, stories and tips when on the phone.
What do you feel you have gained from this experience?
Many of the Old Members are incredibly fond of college, and spoke of their time here with a warmth that indicated it was an important time in their lives. It certainly has made given me a great appreciation of my time at college. I also appreciated the generosity of Old Members willingness to give careers advice not only over the phone, but in emails and letters that I've received after the telethon.
You must have heard many Old Member anecdotes and stories of College life over the phone! Is there a particular one that stands out in the memory?
I was related several stories about college was before women were admitted. The gates of the college were locked routinely at 11pm, which, according to one Old Member, was not a deterrent from heading out for a late night rendezvous because you simply had to climb over the gate in the darker area of Logic Lane off Merton street. Unfortunately the spikes on the top revolved back then, and on one hapless trek back into college the Old Member was caught in the spike, fell and broke his ankle! This of course, did not stop any future trips!
Finally, has the experience as a telethon student caller changed the way that you view the College?
Before the training I hadn't realized how extensively Univ supports its Undergraduates and Graduates through bursaries and access funds. For instance, 1 in 5 undergraduate receive a bursary that tops up the money needed to come to Univ. The figures have given me a better appreciation of how Univ invests in its students' welfare.