Ring, Ring, Ring! Kenyon Calling

Student callers for Phonathon keep connections bright all year ’round.

Maya Sherlick ‘27, Sam Morris ‘25, Maddie Vandeberg ‘25, Charlene Murima ‘27, Godwin Idowu ‘27 and Wisdom Akanwe ‘27 in the Phonathon Room.

Charlene Tariro Murima ’27 was happy to reach a person in her recent shift as a “phonathon” caller with Kenyon’s Advancement Division. As a student employee of the outreach program, she and her fellow Phonathon workers combine to call roughly 200 alumni and parents by phone each shift to share news from Gambier, update their contact information and ask them to give to the Kenyon Fund, which supports every aspect of life on the Hill.

Paul Hamann ’92 is just one alum who looks forward to seeing the 740 area code pop up on his screen. “I light up, settle in, and say ‘Hello, Kenyon!’ Rosa last year, and Charlene and Maya this year, were great to talk to; it's a great annual shot-in-the-arm for me,” he said.

“I like it as a way to touch base with Gambier when I'm far away enough that regular visits aren't feasible. I feel like they link me back to campus, and I enjoy that.”

The program has been in existence for more than three decades and has added texting in recent years. Last academic year, the student workers made 5,124 calls resulting in 308 pledges and credit card gifts totaling nearly $60,000 for Kenyon. The program is just one piece of efforts to raise the nearly $6 million required each year to bridge the gap after tuition and endowment revenue, and every call and gift helps. In addition, these students work with their peers to celebrate generosity on campus and elevate the role philanthropy plays in every student’s experience.

Hamann is undoubtedly more attuned to the program than many, who may not know or anticipate speaking to a current Kenyon College student on the other end. The students have learned to shake off the grouchy calls and hang-ups. While some calls may be unexpected, there are also moments of genuine Kenyon connection across the area codes and decades, as Hamann can attest. “I love my call from Kenyon!”

Meet Our Callers

Get to know some of this year’s student Phonathon callers:

On campus, Wisdom is a member of the Business and Finance Committee, Academic Affairs Committee and Google Developers Club. 

“I love Kenyon's strong sense of community, everybody is so nice.”

On campus, Mira is the captain of the Kenyon Equestrian Team and, fun fact, has a total of 19 dorm room plants shared with their roommate.

On campus, AJ is involved in a cappella.

“My favorite thing about Kenyon is how easy it is to get involved!”

On campus, Yana is a Gund Gallery Associate, lead of their education team, and a member of Epsilon Delta Mu. Fun fact, Yana initially applied to Kenyon because it looks like Hogwarts.

On campus, Godwin is an active member of the African Students Association.

On campus, Samuel is the present of the a cappella group the Kokosingers and a member of Social Board. He hopes to eventually attend law school.

“What I enjoy about Kenyon is how beautiful the campus is!”

On campus, Charlene is a member of the African Student Association and Kenyon Coalition for Christian Outreach. 

“One thing I like about Kenyon is the small classrooms that allow close connection and communication between faculty and students."

On campus, Peter is a member of the Health and Safety Board and plays recreational squash.

“My favorite thing about Kenyon is the small class sizes that allow for a more intimate and conversational learning environment.”

On campus, Charlie is involved in the Beyond Therapy Sketch Comedy, Archon Society, Alpha Sigma Tau Sorority and a variety of student-run theater productions.

“I like how close-knit the Kenyon community is!”

On campus, Mac is the assistant coach of the men's varsity soccer team. Fun fact, Mac was a back-to-back champion ping-pong player junior and senior year of high school.

On campus, Madelin is the wellness and safety chair for Student Council and president of the jazz a cappella group Take 5. Fun fact, Madelin plans to study abroad in Copenhagen this spring.

Maya hopes to someday work in the publishing industry and enjoys reading, pottery and even more reading!

“My favorite memories at Kenyon so far have been the late night walks down Middle Path with my friends.”