Opinion: Cal campus provides improvement to call center, benefitting students and the academic mission 

The call center is a key component of our efforts to raise vital funds for programs across the campus, including scholarships, and support Cal’s research. We are committed to its success and to our student workers.

UC Berkeley recently hired a private firm to manage its call center that is used to seek philanthropic donations from alumni and others, a move that is a win-win for students and the campus.

The vast majority of current student workers (including our four work-study students) will continue to work in the call center and now, thanks to the private employer, with the added benefit of earning bonuses for performance. The university gains a management team that will provide greater expertise and improved technology to the call center, and save the university an estimated $500,000 in its first year.

The vast majority of 167 student workers know they will continue to work in the call center and they were given those assurances many weeks ago. There is a subset of workers, about 17, who are international students. All international students with current, valid VISAs will be able to work for the company.

The firm, Ruffalo, Noel, Levitz (RNL), has a long and successful history in call center management for higher education. The company currently works with 1,900 campuses and non-profits. RNL also manages the call centers for UCLA, UC San Diego and UC Davis. This firm will provide greater expertise and improved technology to the call center.

This change will significantly reduce expenses, bring best practices in annual giving and newer strategies, as well as build out our technological infrastructure to improve agility and increase alumni, parent, and donor engagement and giving.

The call center is a key component of our efforts to raise vital funds for programs across the campus that benefit students, including scholarships, and support Berkeley’s world-leading research. We are committed to its continued success and growth.

We are also committed to our student workers, who have been an important part of our transition process, sharing ideas and thoughts as we have worked to keep them informed on this important new partnership.

Lishelle Blakemore is Associate Vice Chancellor, Development at University Development and Alumni Relations, UC Berkeley.

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