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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Volunteer for Carleton “Instills Tradition”

<lunteer for Carleton made its annual appearance last week. VFC, touted as a “campus-wide stewardship event,” drew 261 students to the Great Hall January 19th-23rd to write thank you notes to Carleton volunteers and donors and make fundraising calls to alumni. The event, put on by the Alumni Annual Fund, raised $10,846 in gifts and $22,333 in pledges for a total of $33,179 in committed dollars.

While that isn’t a trifling sum, when put in perspective, it’s only enough to cover about seventy-two percent of a year’s tuition for one student. Which begs the question, what is the real purpose of VFC? Is it primarily a fundraising effort or an opportunity for students to connect with alums?

According to Jessica Brooks ’09, Assistant Director of the Alumni Annual Fund, the “answer is complicated.”

“The main purpose of this event is to instill the tradition of philanthropy in current students…Carleton’s tradition of giving back is a strength among our peers,” she said. For Brooks, who organized the event along with students on the Volunteer for Carleton Committee, VFC provides “a chance to expose students to that.”

The incentives for student participation don’t hurt either. Each night, student volunteers were rewarded with dinner from local restaurants, including tamales from El Triunfo and Basil’s Pizza, in addition to being entered into a drawing for door prizes. Those who attended two days of VFC received a reusable VFC bag, three-day attendees received VFC sunglasses, and attendance for four days was rewarded with a VFC t-shirt. Each activity that volunteers completed was rewarded with raffle tickets to be redeemed on Friday the 24th, and those who attended all five days received bonus tickets and were also entered into a raffle for a $100 Target gift card.

At Friday’s live auction and raffle event, prizes included gift cards from local businesses, baked goods contributed by faculty, free nights, in Northfield hotels, a lunch with President Poskanzer, and a lunch with the Dean of Students at Chapati. One of the more unusual items up for auction was a wild game dinner. In addition, volunteers who spent the most time on the phone were rewarded with special prizes.

When I spoke to Brooks on Wednesday, the penultimate day of VFC, she said she was “feeling very excited” about the success of this year’s event.

It’s no wonder, considering that student volunteers finished more than 4,000 postcards and thank you notes. “As an alum, I love getting thank you notes in the mail and talking to students on the phone,” Brooks said.

The feeling appears to be mutual. Student volunteer Joshua Kwan ‘17, who was encouraged to participate by upperclassmen friends, said about going into the event, “I wasn’t as enthusiastic as the upperclassmen but I’ve grown to appreciate it. I came to realize at the end that it was fun to make calls and hear alums’ stories.”
For Kwan, it wasn’t all about the prizes he received for participating, “I would definitely do it again next year, but not because of the stuff you get.”

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