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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Chloe Everson
Chloe Everson
Sports Editor

Hi! My name is Chloe and I am a fourth-year senior here at NMU. I am a Public Relations major and have always enjoyed sports. I love being outdoors, shopping, and drinking coffee at all hours of the...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

    Student jobs lost as Call Center closes

    Although the university raised tuition in part to keep student jobs, over 30 jobs were lost in July due to the closing of the NMU Call Center.

    “It wasn’t an easy decision by any stretch of the imagination,” said Carol Carr, director of annual giving at NMU. “We’re really committed to our student callers, and it was tough to have to make this decision.”

    The Call Center was an NMU Foundation organization run by students where students called alumni, parents and friends of the university to ask for a monetary gift. Money that was pledged as a result of these calls was used for current year needs, and often the use of the money was directed by the caller.

    Last year, there was a 7 percent decrease in paid dollars, likely due to the current economy, which has made those at the NMU Foundation reconsider operation, Carr said.

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    It was determined that in order to save money and guarantee a larger profit margin, the best decision would be to use an outside company to make the calls. RuffaloCODY, a company that specializes in strategic fundraising, has been used in the past to facilitate the Call Center and has taken over the calling for NMU.

    “When it came down to it, we had to look at how we could do the most good for the most number of students. It’s not an easy decision and we tried to do all we could to help those students who were adversely affected by this, but ultimately it came down to the numbers,” Carr said.

    The NMU Foundation gave students a week’s notice before closing in July and said that students should reapply in two months. After two months, however, they informed those same students that the Call Center was not opening up again at Northern until further notice.

    The NMU Foundation has worked to help students who were laid off find jobs, referring them to Career Services at Northern and offering their services as references as students search for other jobs. Carr said that though this was not the best for those students who lost jobs, ultimately they will save $100,000 in the move.

    RuffaloCODY, based out of Illinois, will begin as NMU’s callers at the end of this month, and Carr said that it is yet to be seen whether the lack of NMU personality will affect the amount of money that is pledged and paid as a result of the calls. According to Carr, however, the Vice President of the company is an NMU graduate and a number of the RuffaloCODY employees have visited Northern previously.

    “That’s something that we weighed, that it’s not going to be our students looking out of Cohodas windows while they talk to parents, and that’s going to be tough,” Carr said.

    Students who had previously been looking out of those windows for the call center were upset and shocked when they found out they had lost their jobs, said Austin Beattie, a junior economics major and a former student supervisor for the Call Center.

    Beattie said that he found a thrill in calling strangers, talking to them about Northern and asking them for a donation. Much of his job was also spent organizing shifts, managing callers and boosting the morale of the student callers.

    “I actually had a lot of pride in my job and it was just kind of a blow to lose it,” Beattie said. “I helped raise over $30,000 for the university and they just kind of threw me away.”

    According to Beattie, students who had worked at the Call Center believed that they would have a job after the July closing as soon as a new manager was found. He said that he was surprised when he was told that the Call Center would not be reinstated.

    “I think they could have given us a lot more notice, and they could have started looking for a new call center manager much sooner,” Beattie said.

    Beattie found another job as a sales and service representative for Alltell, but he said he’s disappointed at the way things happened with the Call Center.

    “I think the way The Foundation handled it wasn’t the best,” Beattie said. “I think they hurt a lot of feelings and they made a lot of people feel useless and unappreciated.”