Its 9am on a Saturday morning, the University is quiet, and the solitary figure of the Heriot-Watt cow grazes on the lawn, oblivious to the fact he is the imminent centerpiece of a team photo. The Development offices are full of callers packs, presentation slides and 300 Kinder Eggs, which can only mean one thing; it’s time for the Heriot-Watt Telethon once more.
Our student callers arrive bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, insisting that not one of them is nursing a hangover this Saturday morning! The ice-breaker is to introduce themselves and share an interesting fact. The result of which is the discovery that amongst our 2016 calling team we have multi-linguists, musicians, sport-stars, a chef and an extra from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince!
Training begins and soon enough the callers are experts in the Annual Fund and how it benefits the University. Three areas of need are supported by the income that they raise:
- Access Bursaries offer life-changing financial support for students from low-income, or challenging backgrounds, who would otherwise be unable to study at the University; opening the doors to education
- Scholarships attract talented students from across the globe to Heriot-Watt; inspiring future ground-breaking research and experts in their field
- Small Project Grants provide funding to our societies, clubs and individual students to support deeper engagement with their subject or enhance the student experience.
Many of the student callers have directly benefited as a recipient of the Fund or indirectly through the enhancement of student services including Nightline, an out-of-hours counselling service provided by the Union.
Our training weekend was a great success and we are ready and raring to go for this year’s telethon, with an ambitious target in celebration of our 50th Anniversary. Our efforts are encouraged by the University’s pledge to match every donation, including Gift Aid, meaning that a gift of £50 to the Fund will result in £125 available to transform lives, at no extra cost to the donor.
Calling began on Sunday 24th January and we hope that graduates enjoy speaking to current students between now and 28th February. Every time a gift comes in, the student who spoke with the graduate receives a celebratory Kinder Egg. If all 300 currently housed in the Development offices are given out, we will have surpassed our target for this year and the generous support of our alumni will have secured funds that will transform the lives of countless students.
For more information on the Annual Fund or to get to know our callers, visit: https://www.alumni.hw.ac.uk/2016-telethon