CEDAR CITY – Students attending Southern Utah University who need professional clothing won’t have to go far to find them with the new Professional Closet on campus.
A new resource available to students, the Professional Closet will afford students the ability to have appropriate attire for opportunities such as job interviews, internships, career fairs or networking events.
Professional clothing such as suits, tuxedos and cocktail dresses can often run into hundreds of dollars, said Donna Law, executive director for the Leavitt Center, but it’s an expense students won’t have to worry about anymore.
Law first conceived the idea for the Professional Closet during a trip to the state Capitol for a training session. It was then she realized students either didn’t know what to wear or didn’t have access to the clothes they needed.
“During our legislative intern training two years ago up at the Utah Capitol, the students and I discussed appropriate attire,” Law said. “I could see through their expressions that some of the students didn’t have the professional attire they needed, and acquiring those clothes would not be feasible for many of them.”
More recently, when Law and her husband were cleaning out their personal closet at home, she realized she had some clothes she could donate to the students. Law then met with the executive director of the SUU Career Center, Brandon Street, and together the two of them decided they would work with the students to create the Professional Closet.
Law and Street created a student advisory board to help give the students an opportunity to raise financial and clothing donations that will be necessary to keep the closet going while also getting some real life skills.
“The students will have a chance to learn about professional attire, but this is also a learning opportunity for them to learn how to run a business because the Professional Closet is going to be run by the students themselves,” Law said.
The goal is to give students the opportunity to make a positive first impression, Law said, adding that proper attire also gives them a competitive edge in the workplace.
Initially, students will be able to rent the clothing, with prices ranging anywhere from $3-$5. There will be an additional charge if the clothes need to be dry-cleaned. Eventually, Law would like to see enough clothes in the closet that students can purchase outfits they like.
“That’s going to be awhile though, because first we have to focus on getting enough resources to rent the clothes and then be able to sell them without having to worry about not having enough clothes,” she said. “But we want to be able to let them buy those clothes that they absolutely fall in love with.”
A grand opening fashion show for the Professional Closet is slated for Friday at noon in the Sterling Church Auditorium in the Sharwan Smith Student Center on the SUU campus. The event is free and is open to the public.
For those interested, the Professional Closet is now accepting clothing and financial donations from faculty, staff and community members.
“Besides clothing, we need things like shelves and shoe racks. The financial donations will help us get those things,” Law said.
When considering a donation, the school asks the public to please make sure the items are clean, in good condition and professional.
For those wishing to donate, items can be taken to the Leavitt Center in room 112 at the Student Center or the Career Center also located in the same building in room 204 on SUU’s campus.
The following donations are needed:
- Men’s and women’s suits with pants and skirts.
- Dress slacks.
- Blouses and dress shirts.
- Business shoes.
- Ties, belts and other accessories, such as jewelry, scarves and cufflinks.
Operational details for the Professional Closet are still being finalized.
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