UMD’s oldest national service sorority, Gamma Sigma Sigma (GSS), has organized, supported, and served their campus and the Duluth community since 1964. From fundraisers to food shelves, the UMD organization has successfully helped a variety of people and nonprofits. On February 22, 2014, the sorority is celebrating its 50th anniversary by holding a reunion open to all sisters nationwide. The gathering includes a UMD Men’s Hockey Game with North Dakota; a service project luncheon; a tour of campus; and, an evening banquet at Clyde Iron. Keynote speaker and 1967 alumna, Diane Skomars, has been a charter member since 1965.
“I am indeed honored to speak at the 50th Anniversary Banquet for Gamma Sigma Sigma. Fifty years ago a group of young women pledged to help others and to serve their campus and community. It is gratifying to realize that this same commitment exists today even as it has throughout the decades. We salute UMD’s chapter and thank the members for planning a special event.”
For more information about the reunion, go to Gamma Sigma Sigma Celebrates 50 Years at UMD.
Past and Present
Back in 1964, the sorority is cited as raising money to donate equipment to a Duluth rehabilitation center, “putting on a program for old folks at Thanksgiving, entertaining orphans…and helping with a Christmas party for disabled children.” During its first quarter, more than 30 women joined with an additional 20 women during the winter quarter. The 20 recruits were initiated at the annual sorority banquet “after they had completed their six-week pledge period, which included doing their own service projects.”
GSS continues to make an enormous impact on campuses and in communities nationwide, carrying on a tradition of Unity in Service while celebrating its golden milestone. Each year, sorority members contribute thousands of hours to unlimited projects across the country, reporting millions of hours throughout its history.
In the current year at UMD, the accomplishments are similar. GSS ideals are service, friendship, and equality. “We do not do bids,” said Ally Kingsbury, 2014 president of GSS. “We accept anyone who would like to join; gender, race, or religion does not matter. The requirements to join include a period of about six weeks where future members learn about the sorority and complete 12 hours of service. Each member in the Alpha Iota Chapter at UMD is required to complete 24 hours of service.”
During the past semester, the sorority averaged 34 hours of service per member. The total number of service hours completed by the chapter was 1,828 in the fall of 2013. The variety of organizations that they served included March of Dimes, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, and many others.
Among the service projects is collaboration with Alpha Delta, a fraternity at UMD. Together, they host Safewalk which is a safe escort program for the University of Minnesota Duluth where one male and female walk any UMD faculty, staff, or student to any place within a two mile radius of the UMD Campus. This service has been available for over 25 years between the sorority and fraternity.
“We also raise money for the March of Dimes using a project called Hockey Babies,” said Kingsbury. “Hockey Babies has been a part of our sorority since 1975. It includes a poster with pictures of hockey players when they were babies. The public pick who they think is the cutest baby and then add change to the baby’s bottle; the baby with the most money at the end of the semester is the cutest hockey baby of that season.”
After graduation, alumni members continue to serve on their own in their communities or in alumni chapters. Many alumni continue to serve the national organization as well, in roles on the National Board of Directors, National Staff, and as advisors to collegiate and colony members.
Wish to attend the event? RSVP by clicking here. Deadline for RSVPs is February 17th.
Check out the complete history of Gamma Sigma Sigma.