Gannon sorority takes part in Service Week in community


Charlize Harding/Gamma Sigma Sigma

The women of the Gamma Sigma Sigma sorority spend their week returning thanks and giving back to downtown Erie for all that it has done for Gannon.

Charlize Harding, Staff Writer

Gamma Sigma Sigma, Gannon University’s service-based sorority, is holding its annual Service Week through Sunday.

Sorority President Ariel Farren, a senior psychology major, has been involved with the group since the fall of her first year.

She best explains the service sorority as “a group that focuses on meaningful service and giving back to our community,” and one way the sorority gives back to the Erie community best is through Service Week.

Gamma Sigma Sigma kicked off its Service Week by volunteering with other members of the Gannon community for Gannon’s annual Day of Caring on Saturday.

From Gamma Sigma Sigma, 31 members signed up for Day of Caring, and the sorority was able to work with Keith Pomeroy, the associate director of the Travel program in the Center for Social Concerns and Global Exploration.

Altogether, the group worked on cleaning up the West Bayfront neighborhood of Erie.

Aubree Etling, a freshman physician assistant major, said she joined Gamma Sigma Sigma because the service aspect spoke to her dedication to helping other people and the community.

“In high school I participated in a lot of services between the National Honor Society and Outreach club,” she said.

“When coming to Gannon, I wanted to continue to do service, and Gamma Sig was a perfect way for me to do that.”

Etling also said that Service Week is an important part of the integrity of the sorority, as it speaks to its values and what it is rooted in.

“Service Week enforces our values,” she said. “Our motto is ‘unity in service,’ and we strive to go out into the community in order to give back to those who support us.”

Kiley Williams, a freshman biology major, said she joined the service sorority because she knew it would good time for herself and to give back.

“I wanted to find more friends during my freshman year — people who had similar interests as me, and I wanted to be able to volunteer in the community,” Williams said.

“Throughout Service Week we do a variety of services, from cleaning up the Bayfront, to raising money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand and making blankets and socks for Shriners hospital.

“By doing this service we hope to make an impact on people’s lives and lead as good examples.”

Along with Alex’s Lemonade Stand, Gamma Sigma Sigma has five national service partners.

The sorority will be working with two of the service partners throughout service week: Alex’s Lemonade Stand and Relay for Life.

Tabitha Kowal, a freshman nursing major and service vice president of Gamma Sigma Sigma, planned the events the service sorority is offering throughout the week.

One event that Kowal is most looking forward to is Alex’s Lemonade Stand.

Kowal explained that she chose these events for Gannon’s Service Week because helping children in need is a big passion of hers.

She hopes that through these events GSS will be able to make them smile and brighten their day even a little bit.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand will occur this week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, as well as across from the Gannon Bookstore in Palumbo.

All proceeds from the fundraiser will go to children who have cancer.

On Thursday, the members of Gamma Sigma Sigma will be making grippy socks and blankets for the Shriners Children’s Hospital.

For Etling, this opportunity to serve the community is the most exciting.

“I really enjoy getting to make blankets for various causes that we help throughout the year,” she said.

During the fall semester, the Gamma Sigma members also made blankets for the different animal shelters around Erie.

Because not every member of Gamma Sigma Sigma is able to make it to the service events, Kowal extended the sorority’s donation options to partner with nurses in the Erie area and Ukraine donation services.

“As a thank you to our nurses for their tireless work toward the pandemic, Gamma Sigma Sigma is doing a ‘booster basket,’” she said. “The sorority will fill these baskets and give them to the front-line workers.”

In addition, with the war in Ukraine, Kowal reached out to a local group that is collecting donations.

The group will be accepting donations at 820 W. 20th St. from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. on both Wednesday and Friday.

All Gannon and Erie community members are encouraged to donate what they can and spread the word. The group is looking for nonperishable food items, clothing, medical equipment, medicine and hygiene products.

Gamma Sigma Sigma will also be helping with the “Take Back The Night” event held each year at Gannon as part of sexual assault awareness month. This is a walk that symbolizes “taking back the night” from sexual assault and harassment and will take place at 6 p.m. Wednesday on Friendship Green.

Questions about service events and donating to the various causes Gamma Sigma Sigma is involved in can be directed to Kowal at [email protected].