Last week, the Alumni Annual Fund (AAF) hosted Volunteer For Carleton, an annual event during which Carls thank alumni for their support, through both monetary donations and volunteer efforts. Every night from Monday to Friday, a record-breaking number of students gathered in the Great Hall to show their appreciation by making phone calls and writing postcards.
"The hope is that each year we raise awareness among students of the many ways that Carleton alumni stay involved in the community and give back to Carleton after graduation," said Stefanie Herrick '01, the Associate Director of the Alumni Annual Fund.
The students did not fall short in showing their gratitude; over 630 students participated, a significant increase over the previous record's 526 volunteers, recorded in 2005. "People were sitting on the floors because there weren't enough chairs," said Benjamin Altshuler '13, a student volunteer at the event. "It was really cool to see so many people there."
The AAF staff, Stewardship office staff and a student committee organized Volunteer for Carleton. The student committee's main responsibility was publicizing the event and planning activities to make it fun for the volunteers.
Every day, gifts such as bracelets and travel mugs were given out. In addition, students earned points through the various activities and used those [points] to win prizes, said Herrick.
At the end of the week, there was a large auction and raffle where students could earn prizes in exchange for their points. "The prizes were big this year", said Halah Mohammed '14, a student committee member who helped plan the event. "Staff actually donated prizes for the auction. There were gift cards to Chapati, a year's subscription to The New Yorker, and lots of snacks, all donated by staff. Also, [history professor] William North baked cookies that were auctioned off."
During the five days, in addition to breaking the attendance record, students raised $40,000, wrote more than 6,500 thank you notes to alumni, parents, and friends who have made gifts to Carleton this year, and to alumni who volunteer for the Alumni Annual Fund, Career Center, Admissions, and Alumni Relations offices. Students receiving a named scholarship also wrote thank you notes to the donors who have made those scholarships possible, Herrick said.
The combination of a high attendance rate, fun events, and a sense of community made the week successful. "Volunteer for Carleton was the launch pad for the New Year to get people to volunteer more," Mohammed added. "I'm psyched to see what happens next year!"