Sometimes gaining the confidence to take the next step relies on more than a strong education and a polished resume alone. One of the top student-reported reasons for not participating in networking and professional development events both on and off campus, as reported by the Western Pennsylvania Career Services Association (WestPACS), is not having access to professional clothing.
Aware of the need and committed to implementing a solution for its students, Waynesburg University’s Pathways Center, in collaboration with the Diversity & Belonging Team, has launched a career closet on campus. The Career Closet is now available to help students overcome any hindrance due to clothing and provide that extra boost of confidence for those ready to take advantage of professional development opportunities.
“The goal of the Career Closet is to make sure all students have equitable access to professional clothing for interviews, class presentations, student teaching and more,” said Sarah Bell, assistant director of the Pathways Center. “My hope is that students will feel more confident as they enter the workforce as a result of this initiative.”
Located in Eberly Library, the Career Closet will provide free professional clothing and career development materials for University students needing professional additions to their wardrobes. Students are able to either rent or keep these items to suit their individual needs. Professional pieces requested for donation include items such as blouses, polos or cardigans; dresses and skirts; suits and jackets; ties and bowties; pants and slacks; and lightly used shoes.
In preparation for the Career Closet, the Pathways Center hosted two on-campus career clothing drives in May and August to collect items to begin filling the space. University employees were invited to donate gently used or new clothing for the drives and the response was overwhelming.
“We have received more than 800 items from Waynesburg University faculty and staff alone,” said Bell. “This is more than we could have imagined when we set out to launch this project initially, and it speaks to the servant hearts of the people who work at Waynesburg.”
To continue building the available items to students, another collection drive was held during Waynesburg’s Homecoming weekend and donations will continue to be accepted throughout the year. University faculty, staff, alumni and outside donors are all welcome to donate clothing or provide monetary contributions in support of the initiative.
As donations grow, any unclaimed items in the rotation will find a new home within the community.
“While we created this career closet with the goal of providing professional resources to Waynesburg University students, we want to be mindful of what items we are keeping in the closet for extended periods of time,” added Bell. “Items that are unused over time will be donated to area organizations including the Salvation Army and City Mission. This plan allows us not only to support our students but our community. This is a key focus of everything that we do as we are guided by Waynesburg's mission.”
Questions regarding the Career Closet or how to donate can be directed to Bell at 724-852-7790 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hours of Operation
Hours of operation for Spring 2023 are Mondays and Wednesdays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Online appointments can be made through Handshake within the student myConnect portal. Hours will be updated each semester in accordance with staff availability. Walk-ins are welcome.