Have business attire to donate? KU program helps college students dress for success

The University of Kansas' career center is seeking donations of gently used suits this month for its Professional Clothing Closet, which provides business attire to students free of charge.

The University of Kansas is asking for community support in helping students dress for success on their way into the workforce.

At the Professional Clothing Closet, tucked away in 203 Summerfield Hall, cash-strapped students can peruse an inventory of suits, blazers, pants, skirts, button-down shirts and more — all free of charge. This month, the University Career Center is holding a donation drive for the closet, specifically looking for suits of all sizes, colors and styles for both men and women.

“There are a lot of students who come to college and haven’t had the opportunity or need for professional clothing, and sometimes finances are tight and sometimes those clothes can be expensive,” said David Gaston, executive director of the UCC.

“What we try to do is help them make that first step and have this available to them so that when they step out and need to do a job interview, they’ll be more confident and prepared to be successful in those interviews,” he said.

The Professional Clothing Closet moved to its new, larger home in Summerfield Hall last spring after the Burge Union, its original location, shuttered permanently (with plans to demolish and rebuild) in 2016.

Students are encouraged to take home up to five pieces of clothing per visit, with the emphasis, Gaston said, of someday “giving back” with their own donations.

Gaston said the closet accepts donations year-round but is hoping to spread the word about this month’s suit drive in anticipation of the UCC’s career fair in February.

“So, when students come back to begin the spring semester and they need something, it’ll be here and available,” Gaston said.

Collection bins will be located throughout the KU campus this month. Donors are asked to drop off gently worn suits between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at any of these venues: Business Career Services, 1130 Capitol Federal Hall; Engineering Career Center, 1410 LEEP2; Office of First-Year Experience, 145 Strong Hall; the University Career Center, 206 Summerfield Hall; and the lobby at KU Endowment, 1450 Jayhawk Blvd.

Students can shop at the closet Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Professional Clothing Closet is open to all students, regardless of income level.

For more information on the closet and donations, contact the University Career Center at 864-3624.