Abby Shanahan: Service with a Smile

Name: Abby Shanahan

Year: Senior

Major: Therapeutic Recreation and Spanish (double major)


Her Campus (HC): How did you end up choosing to attend to Winona State?

Abby Shanahan (AS): I chose to attend Winona after touring it! It was the only school I toured that made me feel at home. Winona is such a beautiful town, and I love that our campus is smaller but not too small where you know everyone.

(Photo caption, per Abby’s words: The one of me by myself is from Presidents Academy in Nashville, TN that I attended in January; it was a conference where I basically learned how to be the best leader I could be for my chapter!)


HC: What is your favorite part about going to Winona, either about the campus or town?

AS: My favorite part about Winona is that everything is super close to each other; I don’t have to drive 30 minutes to get to Target or the grocery store which I LOVE! I also love that Winona is on the river and has so many beautiful places to go! The best part is seeing the bluffs change from green to reds, yellows and orange in the fall!


HC: How did you choose your major and what is your favorite part about it?

AS: I originally came to WSU for nursing but after my first semester of college, I learned that that was not something I wanted to do. I knew I still wanted to be in health care in some way and also help people but didn’t know what my options were. I heard about Therapeutic Recreation from my big because that was her major, and when I looked into it, I absolutely fell in love with the profession. It's awesome because one of Tri Sigma’s philanthropies focuses on play therapy! I can honestly say that I found my major because of Tri Sigma, and I could not be happier! The best part about TR is that we work every day to not only give a voice to those who can’t express their needs themselves, but we also work to help improve their overall quality of life by getting them back to doing things they love to do!

(Photo caption, per Abby’s words: me and my sorority big sister, Cami)


HC: What do you hope to do with your degree?

AS: I hope I can work with adults with developmental disabilities in an adult day care center! My Spanish degree will also help open the door with more possibilities for me to help those who don’t speak English as their first language. By learning Spanish, I hope that one day, I am able to use it in my profession and make someone’s life a little easier by making them more comfortable in what could be a scary time in their life.


HC: You are president of your sorority, Sigma Sigma Sigma. Can you explain what you do in that role?

AS: My role as president is to oversee everything that goes on in our chapter. I check in with the women who hold positions in our chapter, and I communicate with our National Headquarters. I help out wherever is needed, and I always make myself available to ANY sister that may need help. Each day I try to make sure to include everyone in the chapter and make each sister feel at home and valued because they are.

(Photo Caption, per Abby’s words: from this year’s recruitment of me and my sorority little sister)


HC: What kind of events does your sorority put on and how can students get involved?

AS: Sigma puts on a variety of events. In the fall, our main event is our Purple and Pearls dinner that we hold to raise money for our philanthropy. It’s a dinner that we invite family and friends to attend so we can talk a little about who we are and what Sigma stands for because a lot of the time, families don’t understand sorority life. We also have various fundraisers on campus; we have done bake sales and an event called ‘Pie a Tri’ where people could pay a couple dollars to pie a sister in the face. We also try to get involved in the community by having a pancake breakfast at the VFW. Our sisters prepare the food, serve it, and clean up after it’s all done. In the spring, we have Sigma Sailor which is a popular fundraiser that raises tons of money for our philanthropy. It's basically a male beauty pageant where guys are paired with a Sigma who acts as their coach. It’s a super fun event to attend, and it is open to the public! Students can get involved by checking our Facebook page for upcoming events! If someone is interested in Greek Life, there are opportunities to join. In the fall we have primary recruitment, which took place last weekend (September 7-9). Depending on the size of each of the three national sororities, some organizations are able to recruit during the year. For more information, check the WSU Panhellenic Facebook page or any of the chapters pages!


HC:  What else are you involved with on campus?

AS: Last year, I served as our Panhellenic Delegate meaning I was a part of the WSU Panhellenic council. Panhellenic is the governing body of all three national sororities, and my job was to communicate concerns and ideas from Sigma with the council. It was a way for me to get to know and connect with women from other organizations in Greek Life.

(Photo caption, per Abby’s words: Of me and the Panhellenic president who I absolutely adore, Maddy Moran)


HC: Do you have anything(s) that you are passionate about?

AS: I am passionate about making sure that everyone knows just how loved and valued they are. I want to help people who need it most and help give a voice to those who may not be given one. The thing I love most about Sigma is that we empower women daily to be the best version of ourselves. I strive to help anyone and everyone in any way that I can. I want everyone to be happy and successful, and I want to do anything in my power to make that happen.


HC: Finally, what’s your favorite piece of advice you have heard or live by?

AS: As cheesy as it sounds, I think the best advice that I live by is ‘everything happens for a reason’. Both of my parents said this while I was growing up, and I think it’s helped me through a lot of rough patches of my life. Believing that everything happens for a reason helps me to see the bright side in every situation. Another piece of advice that I live by daily is the golden rule: treat others how you want to be treated. My dad said this numerous times throughout my childhood, and I think it's important to remember that everyone deserves to be treated how you want them to treat you. Every day, I try to remind the people I care about how much I love them and how much I value them because you never know what is going on in their life at that moment. Asking a simple question about how their day was could make all the difference in making someone feel loved and welcomed.

(Photo Caption, per Abby’s words: all of the officers for our chapter)


Abby was a great person to learn more about, and her willingness to help others coupled with her positive attitude is evident in all she does.