This year has marked some exciting expansions to the Career and Leadership Development Center’s Career Closet – expansions that will allow a growing number of students to be able to access professional clothes.
At the beginning of fall semester, the College of Business donated all items from a career closet that was formerly held within the college to the CLDC. Around the same time, Ann Hill, a university partner based in Columbus, donated 25 suits to the closet―one of the largest donations the CLDC has received since the Career Closet debuted in 2016.
The new wardrobe has already caught the attention of OHIO students. So far this year, students have logged more than 100 appointments to access the closet, compared with 50 total appointments during 2017-18.
Dori Branch, assistant director of mentorship programming, says the closet allows students to easily find professional wear, a resource they may not otherwise be able to access in town.
“There aren’t as many professional clothing stores in Athens. And when emergencies come up, students might not be able to get to East State Street or to go home to get something,” Branch said. “They can come here on campus and get clothes for an interview or a professional development opportunity.”
Students are encouraged to visit the Career Closet, located within the CLDC in Baker 533, during drop-in hours. This semester’s drop-in hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. Students are permitted to take one outfit per semester, and they do not have to return the outfit unless they need to exchange it for a different size.
The closet is entirely donation based, and most donations come from alumni, faculty and university partners. Anyone interested in donating can bring clean, gently-used professional wear to the CLDC Monday through Friday during normal business hours. The CLDC also accepts financial donations, which are used to purchase new clothes, racks and hangers.
Strong connections with university partners and retail faculty help to support the closet, according to Branch. But donations from faculty, staff, community members and alumni are needed for this service to continue.
“There are also a lot of people that want to be involved on campus and are hoping to help students with their professional development,” Branch said. “This is a really easy way for them to do it.”