The York University Magazine

YorkU Fall 2014

The alumni magazine of York University

Issue link: http://digital.yorku.ca/i/368698

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t took more than 3,000 hours and close to 40,000 phone conversations with alumni. In the end, the student- operated York University Call Centre smashed its own fundraising record for supporting priority initiatives on campus. Led by Mariya Yurukova, the centre's manager, a total of 200 York students raised more than $500,000 during the 2013-14 fiscal term. The amount nearly doubled the record from last year and more than doubled that from two years ago. The secret to the team's latest success, Yurukova says, comes down to one word: "Enthusiasm – it drives this place," she explains. "Many people think millennials don't care, but they do. Not only are our students motivated to talk to alumni, but we are getting more new donors who graduated within the past five years." For many York student callers, this is their first job. Each of their three-hour shifts begins with a 15-minute powwow session, during which the team supervisor hands out individual incentive cards with personal goals and inspirational comments such as, "Life is like a ten-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use." Unlike a typical telemarketing job, Yurukova, a former student caller at another university, says the call centre is the biggest club students are a part of at York. "They are approaching people who have York in common with them," she says. "They are interested in what alumni have to say about York and alumni are interested in hearing about what's happening at York. Everyone wants to see York succeed. Every day they come to work, they know they are making a difference." Y I Caller ID: Raveena Kaura Second year, accounting; first in her family to go to university in Canada "I love listening to stories alumni have to offer. It's amazing to see how York has changed over the decades. I once had a conversation with a grad for more than 30 minutes. We talked about everything. We were on the verge of solving all the issues in the world. Another time, I talked to a Schulich grad from the '60s. The school wasn't even called Schulich then. He told me about how one winter he had to drive a snowmobile to hand in an assignment. As a current student, it's nice to know our alumni are willing to help continue the cycle of York students giving back to one another." Caller ID: Shehzil Puri Fourth year, administrative studies; first girl in her immediate family to be sent abroad to study from Pakistan "The call centre is like my second home. We high-five each other when someone gets a pledge. But it's not just about asking for support; it's about the conversation and building a rapport with alumni. The last part we talk about is money. Most alumni are generous with their time. They offer insights and advice. I especially love talking to Schulich and Osgoode grads about the business world. It enlightens me and gives me confidence about my future career. I feel the love and attachment they feel toward York, as we are all one big family." Two Students who Made a Difference photography by angela lewis

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