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Career Closet Suits Students in Need of Business Attire

tobi hay career closet

In a room on the third floor of the Angell College Center is a space where students can shop for gently used business wear for free.

The Career Closet, a space organized and operated by the SUNY Plattsburgh Career Development Center, offers a selection of men’s and women’s suits, slacks, skirts, shirts and ties, all donated for students to take as needed for interviews, internships and business commitments.

Tobi Hay, director of the CDC, said the closet opened its doors three years ago in a space in the Educational Opportunity Program suite in Macomb Hall but as needs changed there it was moved to the third floor of the college center.

“It started as a partnership with EOP but became something that couldn’t be sustained there,” Hay said. “We still have a good partnership — EOP refers students over here. But its evolved, and after operating out of a space we had that was also used for staff meetings and employer interviews, we were given this space by Cori Jackson and Jake Avery,” assistant vice president for student life, and assistant director, Center for Student Involvement, respectively.

career closet signOriginally stocked with items donated through various clothing drives, Hay and staff paired the inventory down “to clothing we feel represents what students are looking for and will wear for internships, interviews and jobs,” she said. “We do what we call ‘soft requests.’ If the clothing was new within the past five years, are professional and something a college-age adult would were, then we’re interested. And as much as we appreciate people wanting to donate, we can’t take clothing if the students won’t wear it.”

The room they call a “closet” is actually a sizeable office space, outfitted with several free-standing clothes racks on which hang clothing in a wide range of sizes suitable for the office. A mirror, shoe rack and tie rack are new to the space. A red rug in the space gives it a walk-in closet vibe.

“The way it works is simple,” Hay said. “We have no complicated inventory system. Students come to the Career Development Center, we bring them up, and we tell them to take what they need.”

The closet had seen on average 10-15 students make use, but it had few visitors during COVID, and Hay said it hadn’t been mentioned on the center’s website in the past.

“Now that it’s on the website, we’ve already seen a few people ask about it and make use of it,” she said. “I think we’ll see more students come in.”

All items available are free to students. For more information, contact the Career Development Center at 518-564-2071, email [email protected] or visit https://www.plattsburgh.edu/plattslife/careers/index.html.

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