Two teachers from the Northwest School of Education are making it easier for students to obtain professional clothes with the Career Closet.
The Career Closet is a room on the second floor of North Complex that is designed to allow students to have free access to professional clothing.
Lead preschool teacher Meghan Sheil and instructor in behavioral sciences Sarah Creason discussed where the idea came from. Sheil said it started when a student had a new shirt ruined.
“There was a practicum student, and you could tell she had a new outfit on for the practicum, and she was eating (spaghetti and meatballs) beside one of my preschoolers,” Sheil said. “The meatball flew across the table and hit her right in her white shirt and I could tell that she was devastated.”
This led to a conversation about the price of clothes, which eventually gave Sheil an idea.
“She (the student) wanted to look professional for student teaching and practicum. She wanted to feel confident but clothes are so expensive,” Sheil said. “I started to think, between those two things, that, ‘Well I have clothes at home, all of us have clothes at home, that we are not using.’ So the next week I brought this green tub from my house, and I filled it with clothes I wasn’t using anymore, and we called it Teacher Threads.”
Sheil said Teacher Threads went over well and has seen heavy use.
“(The students) went through and found some clothes, and they seemed really appreciative,” Sheil said.
Eventually, Creason and Sheil started to find a more permanent place, and more people got involved. Sheil said a variety of departments got involved, specifically Career Services.
Creason said she was not expecting the amount of support Northwest gave.
“(Northwest) was so supportive and excited it was almost overwhelming,” Creason said.
Another reason to add the Career Closet was it allows students to participate in functions. Creason said this has been an issue in the past.
“We have had students who have missed out on opportunities like dinners on campus or things going on if they didn’t have something to wear,” Creason said. “We don’t want our students to miss opportunities because they don’t have the right clothes for whatever event or occasion is going on.”
One of the students that benefited from that was freshman Cassandra Crandall. Crandall needed an outfit for Career Day and did not have one.
“I would have worn a weird tee with some comments on it or something, and I wouldn’t have made the best impression,” Crandall said.
Crandall said she received an email about the Career Closet being available. She said she was surprised by how much the Career Closet had to offer.
“I thought it was going to be just a few shirts here and there, but it was an entire room full of stuff,” Crandall said.
Having the closet there allowed Crandall to have more professional clothing, without spending a lot of money.
“You’re not having to go out and spend $60 on an outfit that you can only wear a few times over the course of your college career,” Crandall said.
Crandall also said that having professional clothes allows her to feel confident when showing up to an interview. She said that this is important.
“If you feel confident in what you are wearing, you will feel better wherever you go into the job interviews,” Crandall said.
The Career Closet was open for two days to help with Career Day. It is now closed and the room is being repainted. An official ribbon cutting ceremony will be held sometime in November.
Sheli said they are looking for any kind of clothing, but are especially looking for medium and large sized male clothing. Clothing should be clean and on hangers. Clothing can be delivered to Room 130 in the Administration Building.
Students are allowed to keep any clothing they get from the career closet. There is no limit to the amount of clothes a student can take. Sheil said she hopes people donations will keep up with demand.
“Hopefully, through the generous support out there we will be able to keep the Career Closet well stocked, so students can take want they need,” Sheil said.