The University's Advising and Career Development Center (UACDC) is celebrating the grand opening of its Career Closet on Sept. 27 at McKenny Hall, Room 200.
The Career Closet aims to curate a space for students to develop their professional demeanor. It provides students with formal attire, allowing them to take four pieces per semester for free.
“Professional clothing is expensive, and it’s a huge financial burden for students, for everyone,” Logann Dolan, Career Coach and co-founder of the Career Closet, said.
The program emphasizes that while internal preparation is necessary, an adequate external appearance will better the individual’s assurance in themselves and allow them to tackle the challenges they have set.
“We know that clothing will give students the confidence they need to go to networking events, job fairs, and interviews to secure a job, which is the reason they are here,” Temii Tellis, Senior Corporate Relations Manager and co-founder of the Career Closet, said.
In order to bring confidence to as many students as possible, the Career Closet has a wide range of sizes available to ensure students' needs are met. Additionally, the space is divided into masculine and feminine styles, both open to anyone to visit. Organizers worked with the LGBTQ+ Resources Center to ensure the selection was tailored to be inclusive of all gender expressions and identities.
The environment was created for confused or apprehensive students to enter and leave reassured, potentially knowing something new.
“It’s guiding students in what is considered professional and what our employers expect and having that available,” Crystal Walrath, assistant director of UACDC and co-founder, said.
The team’s main obstacle is a lack of engagement that they believe stems from stigma. Asking for help both with your career path and financially can be difficult, and may make some individuals feel shameful or less worthy.
“We don’t ever want students to feel weird coming in; we just want them to walk in and get what they need,” Walrath said.
Removing the fiscal stress, students are able to shop with no worries and engage with the organizers to fill their individual needs. The clothes are accumulated from donations and partnerships with organizations such as Dress for Success in Michigan, which shared a sizable donation of clothes in a range of sizes. Students can sign up for a session virtually through Handshake or visit in-person between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays.
The grand opening will not mark the end of the organizers’ efforts, as they wish to expand to a larger space to hold all the clothing they have available. Additionally, they plan to survey the needs of students throughout the shopping experience, ensuring they consistently improve their inventory and maximize the efficacy of their service.