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Clothes hang on a rack in the ACE Career Closet in Walter International Education Center, Feb. 7, 2024, in Athens, Ohio.

Student Senate helps expand Career Closet

Almost every week, there is a career fair or an opportunity for students to branch out into the career world at Ohio University. While some students are worried about their resumes, others are more concerned about what they are going to wear. 

Thankfully, the Center for Advising, Career and Experiential Learning, or ACE, provides a multitude of resources for students, including the ACE Career Closet. 

At the ACE, located in Baker University Center Room 417, during drop-in hours from Monday through Friday from 1 - 5 p.m., a career coach will walk students to the closet located at the Walter Success Center, where they can pick up the items they need. Director of Allen Advising, Kasey Daniel, stressed the benefits the closet provides for students.

“The Career Closet provides students with business professional and business casual clothes for anything they might need related to a professional event like an interview, a career fair, a formal event — any kind of career-related function, and that can be something that's happening on campus,” said Daniel. “Or it can be something that's happening off campus, like they're going to their first job interview, or maybe they're trying to build their new professional wardrobe.” 

The Career Closet recently received a makeover when Treasurer of Student Senate Reagan Farmer, a junior studying political science, decided to use some of the student engagement grants to purchase new items to donate to the closet. 

“We have been discussing maybe making our dress code a little more strict here within the Senate body,” said Farmer. “But that's not possible when the prices of clothes are insane. I know you can spend $200 on a suit easily and I mean, you can't expect that out of college students.”

Farmer further recommended the closet because of its versatility for students and the range of options the closet now has. 

“All the time (we) would recommend members of our body to go check out the Career Closet, but personally, I know it can be difficult to wear secondhand stuff just based on sizing,” she said. “Nothing ever fits you perfectly. People want stuff that's new to them and fits their bodies and makes them feel comfortable. So I thought … if we're going to continue to advertise this amazing resource on campus to members or a body then we should be contributing financially to it.”

Farmer’s contribution to the closet has substantially helped in efforts to provide students with more accessible business clothing. She has made over 95 donations for both men and women so far that include dress shoes, blazers, pants, belts, shirts and even hangers.

“A partnership like this is really generous because it is providing a really big one-time donation or hopefully, continued donation where you know the community members can only donate so much, right … I don't think most people in Athens have a really deep, professional closet that they're no longer wearing,” Daniel said. “And so we really rely on these donations.” 

With the new donations and the slew of career fairs, the closet has been used a lot lately. Nathan Park, a freshman studying English, attempted to use the closet but was unable to check anything out because there was nothing left.

“I didn't even end up using it in the end,” Park said. “They had literally one rack of pants and a few shirts and then like two suit jackets.”

Daniel acknowledged the issue and says the closet is still learning. 

“We know that people are needing it because it's kind of flying off the shelves a little bit,” Daniel said. “We're observing that and talking now and thinking of ways that we can improve that process for future semesters.”

According to Daniel, often outside of the ACE in Baker, they will make a pop-up Career Closet to remind students that they still exist.

“I really like to watch people looking at the options on the rack and helping them pick things out and encouraging them, ‘Purple is your color,“' and ‘You really should wear this,“' and ‘You're going to kill this interview,’” Daniel said. “So that's been really fun and some of the ways that we get to interact with people around the closet.”

Ultimately, the goal for both the Student Senate and ACE is to spread the word about the Career Closet as a resource. 

“I think the better clothes that are in the Career Closet, the more people will be talking about it, like they want to brag about where they got their new clothes,” Farmer said. 


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