If there is one phrase that summarizes the mission of Circle of Sisterhood, it would be “Empower Women.” Founded and supported by sorority women, Circle of Sisterhood (CofS) is a national organization that funds entities who work to remove “barriers to education” for girls and women around the globe. Grants go toward school construction, teacher salaries, aftercare for girls rescued from sex trafficking, and more. CofS has funded projects in 26 countries on four continents.
Sororities at the College of Charleston have been involved with Circle of Sisterhood for several years now, raising money through events like CofS Carnival, Battle of the Bands, Puppy Bowl, and a Cookie Sale. Needless to say, COVID-19 changed things this year, but CofC Panhellenic‘s support for their philanthropy is as strong as ever.
Panhellenic is currently hosting an apparel sale for CofS that ends this week, so I thought now was the perfect time to chat with Hannah Ploskonka, CofC Panhellenic’s Vice President of Philanthropic Service and a sister of Zeta Tau Alpha. Read on to learn more about her role and what Greek philanthropy means to her.
Planning philanthropy initiatives during a pandemic is definitely a challenging task. What was your process like? How did you decide on the idea of an apparel sale?
“I had wanted to put on events similar to ones that we had in the past, but knew it would be difficult due to COVID-19 restrictions. Instead, I decided to put together a bunch of small fundraisers over the course of this semester, including percent nights at Chipotle and Off Track Ice Cream. I wanted to reach out past Greek life and extend [the cause] to our campus community and even other schools while raising awareness and funds for Circle of Sisterhood. That’s how I decided to sell clothing that shares Circle of Sisterhood’s universal message – Empower Women.”
What drew you to the position of VP of Philanthropic Service? What has been the most rewarding part so far?
“I was drawn to the position because I wanted to help get rid of the negative stigma that often surrounds Greek life. In order to raise money for Circle of Sisterhood, I wanted to connect the Greek community, our campus community, as well as the Charleston community.
The most rewarding experience was holding the Cookie Sale in February 2020. Each Panhellenic sorority donated cookies and joined together to sell the cookies for two days in Cougar Mall. We raised almost $500! With the amount we raised you could buy 1,720 notebooks and pencils and provide 125 girls with lunch for a year, 59 girls with an entire set of textbooks, 14 girls with a school uniform, OR 8 girls with an entire YEAR’S worth of education!”
What is your favorite thing about Circle of Sisterhood and the Panhellenic community at CofC?
“My favorite thing about the Panhellenic community is their constant support and commitment. Each Panhellenic sorority has its own individual philanthropy that they focus on raising money for, but they still commit their time and funds to support the Circle of Sisterhood.”
The apparel sale is available until 5 pm on Thursday, November 19th through University Tees. Don’t forget to shop if you want to wear some seriously cute clothes and, most importantly, empower women around the globe.
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.