By Phoebe Roe
The Parents Advisory Council (PAC), comprised of 52 families with a cap of 100 members, had their biannual meeting on campus last weekend. These members are chosen at the beginning of the year through a self-nomination program and then specifically selected by Kenyons president.
The PAC, which was founded in 1972, chooses members according to their ethnic diversity, occupation, geographic diversity and enthusiasm. We like to have a nice wide range of participants, Anne Ellsworth, director of parent giving at Kenyon, said.
The PAC members have responsibilities that begin with a Welcome Callat the beginning of each school year. Sophomore, junior and senior PAC members call incoming first-year parents to welcome them to the school and turn their interest toward the PAC with hopes that some of these parents will become PAC parents.
We act as a liaison and connect parents to the right people, get answers to questions, provide informal information based on our own parent experiences, Dorothy Jordan, PAC member, said.
The PAC has two meetings per year where members discuss changes to the school and bring their own questions, often stemming from conversations theyve had with their students.
The committee meetings are a little freewheeling, Scott Baker, director of alumni and parent programs, said. After the PAC meets, members head up to Eaton Center to handle another responsibility: the phone-a-thon.
Each PAC member is expected to call a list of Kenyon parents to talk to them about the school, ask them for any suggestions about Kenyon and eventually ask for a donation to Kenyons Parent Fund.
The first thing we say is create the relationship, be a sounding board, an advocate for the school and then as it feels appropriate ask for the contribution, Ellsworth said.
The Parent Fund is an essential part of Kenyons finances; last year the fund raised nearly $1.2 million. We have one of the most successful parent funds in the country; over 55 percent of parents made a contribution to the fund, and theyre also paying tuition, Ellsworth said.
The Office of Alumni and Parent Relations often receives calls from other schools asking how to make their parent organization as effective as the PAC. Ellsworth and Baker believe that the success comes from trial and error; because the program has been around for a long time, Kenyon has a pretty good idea of what works best. The success of the program also has a lot to do with the Kenyon parents. Its just a really naturally engaged group. Theyre excited, Ellsworth said.
Over the coming years, the PAC will continue to advise College administrators and fundraise for the school, all while keeping the parent community united.
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