Students on a Mission to Maine

Jun 11, 2018

Four members of Sigma Kappa are traveling north this summer to help the Maine Seacoast Mission's housing rehabilitation program.

painting project

Four members of Cal U's Sigma Kappa sorority expect to work on a variety of home-improvement projects when they volunteer at Maine Seacost Mission in July.


Four Cal U Sigma Kappa sorority sisters will travel from one Washington County to another next month for a week of community service.

On July 8, the students will leave the Cal U campus and journey to Washington County, Maine, to participate in the Maine Seacoast Mission’s housing rehabilitation program.

“I can’t wait and am so excited for this,” said McKenna Ferris said, executive vice president of Cal U’s Sigma Kappa chapter and trip coordinator. “Giving back, especially to one of our sorority’s national philanthropies, means so much to us.”

A secondary education and social studies major, she is taking a week off from her job at a child development center.

Each summer, hundreds of volunteers from community groups and churches nationwide fix and renovate homes in economically challenged areas of Maine. Repairs and renovations range from painting to insulating mobile homes to working on new roofs.

Funding for Cal U’s trip is from an 1874 Giving Circle Grant. The Cal U chapter was one of eight chapters across the country to be awarded this $2,500 grant through the Sigma Kappa Foundation.

Sigma Kappa chapters that meet certain philanthropic criteria are eligible to apply for grants from the foundation to fund educational or charitable projects that will benefit the chapter, campus and community.

Alumna Carley Hartley ´17, who also will make the trip, suggested using the grant for the Maine Seacoast Mission. Sigma Kappa was founded in 1874 at Colby College, located in Waterville, Maine.

“We were bouncing off ideas and thought the best thing to do would be to give back to Maine,” Ferris said. “We’ve always wanted to go there and help, but getting there is difficult, and this grant provides us a perfect opportunity.”

Ferris worked with Scott Shaw, housing rehabilitation program coordinator, and Mercedes Conner, Cal U Sigma Kappa’s vice president for philanthropic services, to organize the trip.

Cal U students and sorority sisters Anna Myers and Sarah Barnett will also travel to Maine.

The Cal U foursome will be housed in what the mission calls The Lamb House, which serves as short-term emergency housing for those who have lost their home due to a fire or natural disaster.

Ferris said this summer work continues Sigma Kappa’s year-round commitment to community service.

“We hold ourselves to a high standard and always look to do way more than the minimum (15) service-hours each sister is required to do a semester,” said Ferris.

Joy Helsel, director of Fraternity and Sorority Life at Cal U, praised the sorority, which she joined in 1979.

“I am so proud of the women from the California University chapter of Sigma Kappa who are dedicating a week to do such important volunteer work,” Helsel said. “Not only are they supporting one of our national philanthropies, but they also are providing help to people truly in need while representing our university.”

 Follow Cal U’s participation at the Maine Seacoast Mission’s housing rehabilitation program on social media through Sigma Kappa Cal U’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.