VCU senior makes connections with alumni through the College of Humanities and S

Virginia Commonwealth University student Elaine Kelley was looking for a part-time job. What she found was a way to give back to the university that has given her so much.

Kelley, a rising senior who is currently studying at Trier University in Germany and plans to eventually attend law school, originally heard about the job through her supervisor at the Campus Learning Center who thought that she would be interested. The position was with the College of Humanities and Sciences and involved participating in an alumni calling program. 

Kelley was sold. “I decided it would be fun to get in touch with some former VCU students and ‘give back’ to the College of Humanities and Sciences,” she said.

For 12 weeks at the start of 2007, a group of about seven faithful students called about 2,100 alumni asking for updated information and gifts.

Lois Badey, director of development for the College of Humanities and Sciences, sung the praises on the calling program and its dedicated cadre of student callers.

“Combined with our direct-mail solicitation program, the phone-a-thon helped us generate 925 alumni gifts and pledges so far this year. In addition to alumni giving, our total new gifts and pledges number is over 1,341, a 56 percent increase in pledges and gifts in less than two fiscal years. We have been very successful and look forward to continued progress,” Badey said. “It is inspiring to see how our current students believe in the college and VCU so much they were willing to call on our behalf. This is a way for our students to give back to their university even before graduation. We look forward to a lifelong relationship with them as alumni.” 
Kelley also viewed the phone-a-thon as a way for current students to forge a lasting bond with their future alma mater.

“We were told every night how significant it was that actual VCU students were calling the alumni and not just paid calling professionals. I hope phone-a-thons continue to take place at VCU, and I also hope to play a role in one again, as well,” Kelley said.
She enjoyed hearing stories from alumni, too.

“I spoke with an alumna who attended VCU and MCV in the 1940s. She worked as a doctor in the Army and I spoke with her for a bit about some of her experiences,” Kelley said. “It was great talking to her. It was memorable because of what a pioneer this lady was and how excited she was to hear from a current VCU student who could tell her how the campus has changed. Although I think I was even more excited to get to speak with her!”

Overall, for Kelley – and the college – the program was a win-win.

“A program like this leaves a lasting impression on student callers like myself who will never forget what we learned about the College of Humanities and Sciences, the development aspect of VCU and the stories we hear from alumni about the endless possibilities of destinations after VCU,” Kelley said.

To make a gift to the College of Humanities and Sciences, contact Lois Badey, director of development for the college, at (804) 827-0856 or