DANCING IN THE CABBAGE PATCH Alpha Sigma Tau Service and Philanthropy

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series   : Friends & Guests

ALPHA SIGMA TAU Service and Philanthropy

Alpha Sigma Tau (ΑΣΤ) is a national Panhellenic sorority founded on November 4, 1899 at Michigan State Normal College (now Eastern Michigan University). It is the third-oldest educational sorority, and has more than 90 active chapters and colonies nationwide. [Wikipedia]

James Madison Alpha Sigma Tau volunteers dine together at Laurel House. 2015

James Madison Alpha Sigma Tau volunteers dine together at Laurel House, 2015. [P1060992.jpg]

Since 1945 the national sorority Alpha Sigma Tau (AST) has been a strong supporter and advocate for Pine Mountain Settlement School. With nearly 90 chapters throughout the United States Alpha Sigma Tau selected Pine Mountain as the primary philanthropy for the sorority and Habitat for Humanity as its primary service focus. Since 1945 Pine Mountain has been enriched by the close relationship with this philanthropic sorority and the many visits by members of various national chapters.

Pine Mountain has been very fortunate over the years to have the chapters visit the School and to have them participate in programs or provide designated service to the institution. For example, in the Spring of 2014 the School welcomed Radford University‘s Alpha Sigma Tau chapter to the campus. Pine Mountain was again fortunate in November of 2014 to have another group from AST on campus, seven AST members from James Madison University in Virginia. In March 2015 sisters from the Grand Valley University chapter of Alpha Sigma Tau came to work on the archive and grounds of the School.

These visitors are welcomed by the School’s Community Coordinator, Judy Lewis, who coordinates a variety of volunteer activities for the groups. Students are also given the opportunity to participate in any on-going programs that occur while they are on campus so they can understand the work and the mission of the institution. Further, they can contribute a variety of services, including building maintenance, trail work and other grounds maintenance and, importantly, they can work in the institution’s ARCHIVE where they can learn about the School’s history and the many individuals who have been a part of the institution since its founding in 1913. While working in the archive the sisters are honing skills in collection organization, digitization, database management and historical writing — and some heavy lifting! While working on trails, grounds or buildings the visitors can enjoy the physical environment of the place and help to maintain the beauty of the site. These service projects are just a few of the possibilities available to visiting sorority groups.

The philanthropy and the work of Alpha Sigma Tau benefits Pine Mountain in ways that are both tangible and intangible. The opportunity for the sororities to learn more about the work of Pine Mountain and for Pine Mountain to show its deep appreciation for the years of support they have given the School has enriched everyone.

Judy Lewis, Community Coordinator and her GIANT teapot and equally large hospitality! [P1060589.jpg]

Judy Lewis, Community Coordinator and her GIANT teapot and equally large hospitality! [P1060589.jpg]

The following are some of the groups that have visited the campus in 2014 and 2015 and who have given their service to the School. We welcome additional chapters to schedule visits to the School. Details can be discussed by contacting the main Office of the School.



Radford sisters working in the Library, formerly called “Boy’s House.” [P10505061.jpg]


James Madison crew working on the archive with a little help from a friend.

James Madison crew working on the archive at West Wind house with a little help from an energetic friend. [P1060784.jpg]

Thank you James Madison crew for all your hard work!


Thank you Cecelia, Jackie, Kayla, Carly, Shannon, Hannah and Olivia!


The week of June 15-17, 2015, Pine Mountain Settlement School was fortunate to have two separate Alpha Sigma Tau chapters on campus. They did a splendid job of assisting with the community Day Camp and helping the archivists compile folder data for an index to the large archival collections at the School. They also had an opportunity to commune with another Alpha Sigma Tau Chapter and to make friends across institutions. We thank them all!

To see some of their work for the Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections go to —


We could not have done this without you.

A thank you, as well, to Anna Smith, our community volunteer librarian, whose fine work helped to prepare the collections for work before and after!! Thank you! Thank you!


Anna Smith, community volunteer Librarian who assisted in preparation and follow-up for the two Alpha Sigma Tau work on the PMSS Collections. Ready to eat at Hill House. [P1100102.jpg]



(Alpha Chapter) Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI
Thank you, Sydney, Sky, Heather and Caitlin.  June 15-17, 2015. [P1100126.jpg]


(Beta Epsilon Chapter) Shippensburg, PA
Thank you MIchaella, Samantha, Allyson and Emilee, June 15-17, 2015.


Founded as a private institution in 1865 Fairmont State was a Methodist institution that was dedicated to training teachers. In 1866 the school was transferred to the Regency of  the West Virginia Normal School and in 1868 the state of West Virginia purchased the institution and it became a branch of Marshall College. After a succession of names, in 1931 the school became known as Fairmont State Teacher’s College and later as Fairmont State College.  In 2004 the state of West Virginia legislature voted to change the name again to current appellation, Fairmont State University.

The long history of the institution left a trail of historical information and buildings and in 1994 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Pine Mountain is pleased to have an association with the Alpha Sigma Tau sorority of Fairmont State University and to welcome the school to its campus.


On this, their first visit to Pine Mountain, the girls assisted with an archival move and reorganization project. Others worked with the Maintenance Department on the school’s extensive grounds.  While others helped to sort, cull and re-shelve an extensive library collection. All the work was an important contribution to the conservation and maintenance of the property of the School.  The important re-housing the archive and cleaning and clearing of the many degraded boxes from long years of  storage in West Wind, one of the many buildings at the school, was especially noteworthy.The following pictures show some of the activities of creating new boxes, boxing printing blocks, and re-labeling degraded file folders.

The following pictures show some of the activities of creating new boxes, boxing printing blocks, and re-labeling degraded file folders.


Thank you!





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About pmss_editor

The editor, Helen Wykle, was born at Pine Mountain Settlement School in Southeastern Kentucky. She graduated from Berea College in 1964 with a B.A. in Art. She studied painting at Ohio University and art history at Tulane University. Both experiences led to the completion of an M.A. in Art History at San Jose State University in 1987. She taught Art and Art History for the University of KY at Maysville, KY, Gavilan College, and San Diego City College in California. Her five-year employment at UC San Diego in the Library Visual Resources and Main Reference Services departments led to a Master's Degree in Library and Information Science from Berkeley in 1987 and a left turn as a Sr. Museum Scientist for the UC Irvine School of the Arts (1987-1992). In 1992 she returned with her family to Appalachia and began a second career first as faculty at Warren Wilson College Pew Library and the Art department and later in 1995 as faculty at UNC Asheville for another full career in bibliographic instruction and as Director of Special Collections and University Archives. Retirement in 2013 brought her back to Pine Mountain Settlement School as a member of the Board of Trustees where she and her cousin, Ann Angel Eberhard, initiated the development and digitization of the Archive of the Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections.