Alumni Services

Meet Our Student Callers

Another teaching term has passed at the University of Edinburgh and, as the students knuckle down to revise for those dreaded exams, we have time to reflect on another calling campaign.

Sarah Donnachie

In seven weeks of calling we spoke to 3,886 alumni and dialled the phone 30,738 times.

We even managed to pry enough students out of bed at 7am on a Saturday morning to call Australia.

This dedicated digit dialling may have resulted in blistered index fingers but it was well worth it as we had some brilliant conversations, shared some wonderful memories and raised £153,082 for student bursaries and support.

The Alumni Memories Board

Meet the callers

Have you received a call from us and ever wanted to know more about the students themselves?

We took a minute to ask Katie Mullen and Sarah Donnachie, both originally from Glasgow, a few questions about their experiences. Both are just finishing their third year at Edinburgh, with Katie studying Chemistry and Sarah reading Law.

Tell us about the University of Edinburgh now?

Katie: Edinburgh is full of opportunities; you get the chance to study a huge variety of different subjects, meet lots of new people and get involved in a choice of hundreds of societies and sports clubs. University life is a fantastic experience and I see it as a lot more than a library and some textbooks.

Sarah: I passionately believe that a university education should be available for all who want it, regardless of their background. University really broadens horizons. This is particularly true of a university like Edinburgh, as I feel we have a very diverse intake, students here have the opportunity to meet those from all walks of life and from all over the world.

Based on your conversations with alumni, how has it changed?

Katie Mullen

Katie: I actually found that most alumni viewed university in a very similar way, and those alumni that are the most enthusiastic about their time here, are the ones who got involved in all aspects of university life.

Sarah: My conversations with alumni have shown me that I'm not alone in my view of Edinburgh: the vast majority of alumni that I've spoken to have told me that without their university experience, their lives simply wouldn't be the same. Many have told me of the lifelong friends they've made here, or how much they gained from their participation in society activities, not to mention how useful their degrees have been to them.

What do you think of Sarah?

Katie: I think the Sarah video is great! It a good way for people to understand what happens in the day to day life of a student, and the financial issues many students face throughout the year. The facts and figures were given to the creators by current students meaning it is true to life.

Sarah: I really like the idea of showing our alumni the realities of student life through hard facts and figures: it's pretty difficult to escape the fact that many students struggle to make ends meet, this campaign really illustrates that. The basic premise of Meet Sarah is to show that the average student loan doesn't actually meet the average cost of living in Edinburgh as a student, and I really think that will strike a chord with our alumni.

The Meet Sarah Bursary Appeal

How and why did you get involved with calling alumni?

Katie: I got involved with calling alumni when I received an email from the Alumni and Development Office advertising vacancies for student callers. It is an interesting and varied job, unlike anything I had done before. The shift times also fit well around classes, and the flexible hours mean it has not interfered with my studies.

Sarah: I've always been a firm believer that everyone deserves an education. To me, it seems simply unfair that some people will have to struggle to achieve a degree. I thought that working to fundraise would be an ideal role for me. I wasn't sure if I would get the job as I knew that there were hundreds of applicants, but after a telephone interview I was pleased to be invited to work as a student caller for the university. It's been really rewarding, and I'm so glad that I took this opportunity. Not only have I had the chance to raise money for something I feel passionately about, but working here has really been a great addition to my CV too.

The student team

Katie and Sarah are just two students from a team of 100; if you would like to find out more about the student that called you, please visit our virtual gallery on Pinterest.

Our Student Callers