Professor starts clothes closet for students

As spring gets close, the time to apply for internships and, for those graduating, full time jobs has arrived. For students who can’t afford the spiffiest interview outfit, Professor of Communications Rebecca Jones started a clothes closet full of interview-worthy outfits.

Jones heard whispers of a clothes closet being started by Career Services. Career Services had gotten some inspiration from the University of Michigan’s program that allows students to borrow a nice outfit when they need one. Jones just wanted to donate to the cause. But, when she found out there was no closet to donate to, she decided to get it started herself.

“I had a student last semester who struggled with temporary homelessness in high school,” Jones said. “She had trouble asking for help or accepting help when someone offered it. That got my brain thinking. So over Christmas break I saw this woman on Facebook looking for advice on what to wear for an interview and cost was a big factor for her. People told her to go to Thread Up or The Salvation Army. I sent her a message offering some of my clothes and I ended up sending her a suit. That’s what got this whole thing started.”

The bottom line is that Jones does this because she cares. The closet sits outside her office and is steadily growing. But if you look past that into her office, you’ll see her walls decorated with the photos and news clippings of family and students. She wants to see her students do well without something trivial like an interview outfit holding them back.

“I want students to take advantage of this and use it,” she said. “I know it’s a difficult thing to do because people have a hard time asking for help, but this is here and available to them. Whether you have the need or the want, it’s here.”

She keeps the closet open during business hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and students can stop by her office in 305 Wilson Hall to sift through the clothes whether she is there or not as the closet sits just outside her door. She’s got shoes, blazers, pants, dress shirts and blouses in a variety of sizes that are all business professional. Students can use what they need and return it at anytime.

Though her collection is growing, she encourages students, staff, faculty and alumni who have extra clothes to donate them to her so every student who comes to her can find an outfit, Right now, she is especially in need of men’s shoes, plus size clothing, ties, suits and hangers as some of her collection is currently stuffed in a box. Anyone willing to dry clean or tailor the clothing would also be of great help to her.

Anyone interested in donating to or utilizing the clothes closet can email can email Jones at [email protected].