Celebrating York’s student callers

Students working in York University’s Call Centre have posted another impressive year, raising $278,000 toward York’s research and academic priorities, with thanks to York alumni and parents who answered the call and gave so generously.

To celebrate the achievement, the Call Centre held its annual awards night on April 16 to congratulate its employees. Ellen Osei-Afriyie, who received an award for the highest total donations, is a second-year veteran at the Call Centre but she still remembers feeling nervous her first night. “It was hard at first but with practice you get used to it,” said the psychology and social work student. “I talk about how much donations benefit the school and what a difference our donors make.”

Right: Ellen Osei-Afriyie (centre) receives her highest total donations award from York to the Power of 50 Annual Fund Co-Chairs Aidan Flatley (left) and Terrie-Lynne Devonish

Rookie award winner Aimen Najam, a first-year student, says connecting with former students and the broader York community is a true pleasure. “I love talking to people,” she said. “With alumni, we often spend a bit of time discussing changes here on Keele campus and their memories of York.”

“This is truly one of the benefits of maintaining our own Call Centre staffed by our own students,” said Cathy Yanosik, vice-president, operations at the York University Foundation. “Current students can make an important connection with our alumni and chat about their shared experience. 

"During these calls, we often hear about how our alumni feel about current events at York," said Yanosik. “This feedback alone is valuable. At the same time, students have an opportunity to earn money right here on campus while raising funds to make York even better for the future.”

Right: Aimen Najam (centre) receives the rookie of the term award from Flatley (left) and Devonish

The Call Centre employs approximately 70 students who work four nights a week, reaching out to the York community. To date, 3,783 pledges have been received this year with the busiest night of the year coming on March 9 with 143 pledges.

Handing out the awards to the student callers were York to the Power of 50 Annual Fund Co-Chairs Aidan Flatley (BA ’78), president and CEO of Kenaidan Contracting Ltd., and Terrie-Lynne Devonish (BA ’92, LLB ’95), chief counsel at AON Canada. They thanked the students for all their hard work on behalf of the University.

Left: Flatley and Devonish are presented with a symbolic "money bag" cheque representing the Call Centre’s fundraising accomplishment for the year. From left, Flatley, Devonish and Call Centre representatives Grace Brailsford and Melanie Redford.

As part of York to the Power of 50, York University’s $200 million fundraising campaign, the Call Centre contributions will help York get a running start on its second half-century. York to the Power of 50 is currently more than $185 million toward its goal.

Here is the full list of award winners: Manjeet Kaur, Reine Gammo, Ali Shabbir (winner in two categories), Ellen Osei-Afriyie, Lalit Walia (winner in two categories) and Aimen Najam.