For the past month or so, donations of business and interview clothing have been delivered to the Hofstra Career Center in preparation for an upcoming event – Career Closet Day. Career Closet Day has been practiced by many other colleges nationwide; a quick Google search yields multiple results going back several years. However, this is the first year that Hofstra University will be collecting donations for a closet of our its very own.
The Career Closet event has been advertised as an event where students can come and claim items in order to build their professional wardrobes. These items are free,, clean, and the students can keep them afterwards. Unlike other closets, which have a loan and return system, this provides students with the opportunity to collect clothing in a judgement- free zone that is promised to be open to “all body types, sizes, and gender identities.”
Sabeen Sheikh, the assistant director of outreach and special programs for the Career Center, said that the Center spearheaded the event, and the committee is a collaboration of four people from the Career Center and one from the Office of Student Leadership and Engagement.
“The [event] stemmed from a conversation between myself and Michelle Kyriakides, the executive director of the Hofstra Career Center, who had interest in this program,” Sheikh said regarding the origins of the Career Closet. “I helped start and run a career closet in a previous position at a non-profit workforce-development agency.”
This interest expanded to a need to provide business clothing to college students at Hofstra, a goal that aligned with the Career Center’s purpose on campus – preparing students for jobs and the working world.
While this is the first year the Career Center is doing the Career Closet, Sheikh has high hopes that it will be an ongoing event.
“We hope that it is successful and that we can continue the program. We had a JCPenney Dress to Impress event last semester and it was successful, so we want to provide further support for students to obtain professional attire.”
Part of the goal of the Career Closet event is to continue to provide support and necessities for students as they pursue internships and part-time and full-time positions. The Career Closet offers the opportunities for students to present themselves as professionally as possible in front of potential employers.
“We wanted to support students in all aspects of their career journeys, including their professional clothing,” Sheikh said on the inspiration to bring the closet to Hofstra’s campus. The event is not just for students who are financially unable to afford appropriate clothing for events, Sheikh clarified.
“This event is open to all Hofstra students ... a valid ID is all that is required.”
Kyriakides backed Sheikh’s enthusiasm. “We are always eager to support our students in every aspect of their career development. The Career Closet is one way the Division of Student Affairs seeks to involve the entire community while we provide resources for our students,” Kyriakides said.
Students wishing to get involved with the Career Closet event can donate new or gently used clothing items that are dry-cleaned or in clean condition directly to the Career Center until Friday, Feb. 15. The Career Closet will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Student Center Greenhouse on Wednesday, Feb. 27.
Sheikh highly encourages everyone to spread the word about the event, as the Hofstra Career Center is always excited to engage with the student body.
“We are here to support you from your first year here to after you graduate,” she said. “Please spread the word and attend!”