Miner softball catcher Cailey Baker loves the excitement of playing behind the plate.
“It’s an adrenaline rush seeing a girl coming straight at you and knowing you have to tag her out or she’ll score,” Baker says.
She also loves the challenge of reading a batter, evaluating her strengths and weaknesses, and calling for just the right pitch.
She says her job as a student development officer works much the same way.
“Just like picking a pitch as the batter approaches the plate, when I call an alumnus for the first time, I have to decide the right thing to say while the phone rings,” Baker explains. “Sometimes I just ask them how their day is going. Other times I thank them for a recent gift. My goal is to connect with alumni on a personal level.”
Building that connection, particularly with donors, is the reason the Student Development Officer Program was founded.
“The Student DO Program is mainly about donor satisfaction,” says Rob Ruchotzke, an annual giving officer in university advancement. “We want to ensure that our alumni, family and friends are appreciated and that their voices are heard. Our student DOs do that and more through their outreach.”
Baker says she loves getting to know Miner alumni.
“Our alumni always say they want to hear what students have to say, and they love to share their stories,” she says. “It’s really rewarding.”
Although she does occasionally reach unhappy people who think she’s just another telemarketer, Baker says she takes it all in stride. She apologizes for the inconvenience and thanks them for their time. Often, she turns the conversation around.
“Once they realize I’m genuinely interested in getting to know them, not just asking for money, it changes,” she says. “Those are the moments
I live for.”