Anonymous Gift to Expand Career Closet for Students Needing Business Attire

June 15, 2020
By: Kristen O'Reilly

Worcester State community members who are spring cleaning during home confinement might consider donating unwanted professional clothing to the Career Closet, a resource for students wanting to make a good first impression in the business world. The small, two-year-old project, maintained by the Career Services Office, is a collection of clothing suitable for job interviews, internships, or first jobs out of college.

“During the normal academic year, the Career Closet is open all the time for when students need it,” says Jillian Anderson, director of Career Services. “The collection is located in an easily accessible part of the Student Center, near the Career Services offices, so students don’t need to feel self-conscious about using it. They can come off hours or whenever they have time.”

Anderson says she is excited about improving the closet thanks to a recent anonymous $1,000 gift from a faculty member. In making the gift, the donor noted support for the Career Closet is a great way for faculty, staff, and alumni to show a commitment to students’ professional success.

“Our job is to help people get where they need to go, and that doesn’t end with graduation,” wrote the faculty donor. “Many people, even faculty members, don’t realize that some students and recent graduates don’t have the resources to buy interview clothes and enough outfits to get them the job and let them dress for it until their finances improve.”

The closet was created in 2018 by a student intern with help from organizers of Andy’s Attic at South High School, who provided some items of clothing from their collection to get it started. In return, when clothing is donated to the Career Closet that might not work in a professional setting, Anderson says they drop those off at Andy’s Attic, which caters to high school students in need.

Currently, all the clothing is packed into a few wardrobes and a clothing rack on wheels, given by the Office of Residential Life. The donated money may be used to increase storage capacity, buy materials to help organize the collection better, or fill in gaps by buying unusual or overly popular sizes of clothing.

“We could use the money to run out to Savers or Kohl’s, for instance, if someone needed a specific piece that we didn’t have in the collection,” says Anderson. The money might also be used for dry cleaning services if needed.

Those interested in adding to the collection should consider donating clean, business-appropriate clothing, such as suits, jackets, appropriate-length dresses and skirts, dress pants and shirts, ties, belts, and other accessories. Because of capacity limits, shoes are currently not accepted.

The Alumni Office is sponsoring two on-campus drop-off days for those wishing to donate to the collection: Thursday, June 25, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Thursday, July 16, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 5 to 7 p.m. For more information, visit https://alumni.worcester.edu/careercloset.

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