November 1, 2011
It’s not your typical work place. For one thing, no one appears to be over the age of 25. The workstations are compact cubbies equipped with computer screens and each worker is wired in to a headset. No one looks tired, stressed or unhappy despite the fact that the hour is fast approaching 10:00 p.m.
This is an ordinary night in the MSU Greenline calling room, where the student employees attempt nearly one million calls to alumni and friends of Michigan State University each year. They enjoy their work and are good at it. From their conversations, they have obtained well over $3 million dollars so far this year from tens of thousands of donors. They keep countless more Spartans engaged and up-to-date on the issues, concerns and achievements of students at Michigan State.
MSU Greenline is a popular place to work on campus. More than 200 students are employed each semester, but the stack of applicants hoping to join their team numbers over 400. They are a tight-knit and fun-loving group—especially on theme nights—but the popularity of the Greenline also stems from the valuable professional experience to be gained. Students majoring in any discipline see the benefit in polishing their communication skills, according to Assistant Director Frank Tramble (’09, Communication Arts and Sciences), who is a former graduate from the program himself.
“MSU Greenline gives students the opportunity to communicate in a genuine way to build a real relationship with someone,” Tramble said. “It provides an all-around skill set for all majors.”
Because the program utilizes student managers to supervise and run the shifts, the program also helps develop leaders. Tramble tells many success stories of his graduates finding positions in marketing, sales, human resources, fundraising and many other fields in part due to having MSU Greenline on their resume.
“A 200-person operation is not an easy thing for student managers to run, especially when it is a group of your peers” Tramble said. “We know many employers value our graduates.”
Superstars often emerge from the program. Carmen Nguyen (’10, Communication Arts and Sciences) raised more than $500,000 in a four year period. Now in graduate school, she is continuing her work in the program. Seven of her Greenline colleagues recently passed the $100,000 mark and an additional four student callers garnered more than $50,000.
Bradley Scherer, a Greenline manager majoring in communication, recalled being offered a job during his first month of calling from an alumnus in Las Vegas. “He ran a telemarketing company, so it was real validation that we have a quality program and I landed in something I am good at.”
To learn more about MSU Greenline and to watch live webcams of the evening calling shifts, go to www.givingto.msu.edu/greenline.