Picture walking into your first interview. You’re anxious and you’re nervous because the job is at a call center. Most typical call center jobs require people to interact over the phone with outside parties to solicit orders for goods/services, request donations and to collect information. You must be able to contact businesses or private individuals by phone, be able to respond to questions clearly and follow up on initial contacts.
However, what happens when every single one of the candidates have zero experience in this field and have never worked in a call center before? This may seem like a recipe for disaster, but for Montclair State Athletics it turns out to be a tremendous success.
Montclair State student athletes, representing numerous teams, sat beside one another in the call center on Thursday, Nov. 17, wearing matching headsets. There was no interview process, but they had just volunteered for something completely out of their usual ways. Initially, the expressions displayed on the athletes’ faces appeared to be timid and nervy.
As the night continued, these expressions all disappeared and were replaced with cheesy smiles. After each pledge, the excitement was immediately displayed on each athlete’s face as they high-fived one another and cheered in delight.
A total of 15 student athletes filled the room with representatives from men’s and women’s lacrosse, baseball and softball. There has also been field hockey, women’s soccer, football, women’s basketball, volleyball and swimming & diving athletes participate in previous calling events.
The first call center fundraiser took place in November 2015. Montclair State athletics has delightedly participated in all its call center events, aiming to have about 1-2 events in the call center per semester.
This event is a joint effort between University Advancement and Montclair State Athletics. The Annual Fund team of University Advancement runs the training and provides the technical support that is necessary in the call center. However, the fundraiser would not be possible without the support of athletics and particularly the student athletes.
A brief training session took place prior to the event and dinner was provided for student athletes. Without any prior work experience in the call center, Montclair State student athletes successfully accomplished their mission and received 18 pledges with $1500 raised.
Beth Gottung, director of development athletics and student life university advancement was proud of the event’s success.
“It is a great opportunity to raise funds for athletics but even more importantly, it’s an opportunity to reconnect with our alumni and friends,” Gottung said.
Gottung explains that the callers which were the student athletes who participate in this event, had the opportunity to speak directly with Montclair State alumni. When speaking with the alumni, athletes can share stories about their success with Montclair State athletics and the school’s education. Athletes can also inform callers about any University updates, while additionally thanking donors for their gifts.
“This is a great educational opportunity for our students on the importance of philanthropy,” Gottung said.
Although walking into something without any experience may seem intimidating, Montclair State student-athletes showed their strengths in maturity and dedication after achieving a task many others may have given up on.
Within the $1500 raised for athletics, a $500 credit card gift was received and donated to the swimming and diving team. Without a doubt, Head Swim Coach Brian McLaughlin’s reaction must have resembled a child in a candy shop to receiving the excellent news.
Not only did the call center event bring Montclair State alumni and current student athletes together and built stronger relationships, but also allowed students to build their communication skills and gain confidence. Amanda Lombardi, a member of the Montclair State Softball team experienced that first hand.
“This fundraiser was an excellent way to bring me out of my comfort zone,” Lombardi said. “At first, I was nervous about speaking to former alumni softball players because I have never participated in a call center event, but after a few phone calls I started to get a rhythm flowing similar to a pitcher getting comfortable on the mound.”