Making personal connections and learning more about the person at the other end of the phone are among the things that Mika Ervin enjoys about the annual Phonathon.

Students are making calls five nights a week from Room 314 in Billingsly Student Center.

Students are making calls five nights a week from Room 314 in Billingsly Student Center.

“I love to hear stories about their lives and the things they tell you … like, they have 20 grandkids and 10 of them are going to Missouri Southern,” said Ervin, a junior international studies major.

Ervin is among the students participating in the Phonathon, which began Nov. 2 and will continue through Nov. 24 and Nov. 30-Dec. 4.

The centerpiece of the Southern Annual Fund has students reaching out to Missouri Southern alumni and friends in an effort to garner financial support for the university. Established in 1983, the campaign raises funds used to support Missouri Southern’s teaching and service mission.

Last year, the event was moved from the spring semester to the fall in order to capitalize on energy generated during Homecoming and athletic events, said Elisa Bryant, major gifts officer.

Donors can give in a variety of ways, such as funds for a particular academic or athletic program or donations to the Green and Gold Fund – which allows the campus to address needs as they arise. This can include scholarship funding or improvements to buildings.

“It’s also a way to develop and maintain relationships with our alumni,” said Bryant. “Students get to share their own stories as they talk about all of the great things happening at Missouri Southern.”

Students participating in the Phonathon attended training sessions last month. Calls are made from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.