The third floor of the KSU Foundation has been bustling with activity during the evening hours. Around 5:45 to 6 p.m. students file in, take their stations and begin to make phone calls. In the corner of the room a large board denotes the amount of money pledged to K-State so far thanks to these students. The K-State Telefund, K-State’s annual giving campaign, is underway. There is a general buzz of discussion in the air with the occasional cheer of excitement that someone has either received a large pledge or, more likely, got a bingo on his or her Telefund card they received when they sat down at their stations. Those involved in the campaign include students, faculty members, foundation staff and even academic deans.
“I like to come to cheer on our students and answer their questions and occasionally to say hello to an alumnus,” said Virginia Moxley, dean of the College of Human Ecology.
Moxley described the funds raised by her students during Telefund as versatile because they help students through scholarships and programs. Moxley also said she is very appreciative to the students who make the calls.
“These funds that are raised mean so much to us,” she said. “We award scholarships, we can helps students travel internationally, we can get them to professional meetings … it makes a lot of difference for us.”
For more than 30 years K-State students from every academic college and department have been making phone calls to alumni during the month of February to raise money for scholarships and programs in their fields of study.
Jeff Pfannenstiel, the Foundation’s assistant director of annual giving and student programs, said the campaign, which started on Sunday, has gotten off to a great start. Sunday night callers raised nearly $160,000 for the colleges of Agriculture and Human Ecology. Monday evening callers from the College of Human Ecology raised $4,000 in under an hour. Each college will have students place phone calls for five days during the campaign.
Pfannenstiel said Telefund aims to raise $1.5 million, despite hard economic times.
“While the economy is certainly an issue for people, we don’t see it as a huge detriment to our campaign,” he said.
In fact, during the last fiscal year the foundation had its largest fundraising campaign at $107 million dollars.
“Even in the times that we are in, K-Staters are loyal,” Pfannenstiel said. “They like to give back to K-State and they see the importance of giving annually.”
According to the College of Agriculture’s Twitter account, callers reached their college’s goal of $100,000 in two days of calling.
Cassie Kniebel, junior in animal science and agribusiness, has spent more than 30 hours working with her college on Telefund before a single call was placed. She and several others have been working to organize students and get them to volunteer. Now that Telefund is underway she is assisting those student callers as they ask for donations.
“It’s a faster pace,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun working with all the students across the College of Agriculture, most of them are my friends and I know everybody – it’s a way for me to get to know everybody and just learn more and work with alumni.”
Kniebel also said she encourages everyone to get involved with Telefund at some point in their college career.