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Woman greeting someone in a suit jacket who's sitting at a table with a clothes rack behind them
An attendee at the 2024 Women's Leadership Conference learns about the Career Closet

The Career Closet is a new initiative at Adelphi created for our community to assist students in starting their professional wardrobe.

College students are constantly buzzing around on and off campus, going from class, to work out and to other activities. But they鈥檙e also working toward and getting ready to launch their professional careers. That means they need to dress the part but may not have the funds.

That鈥檚 why Adelphi introduced the Career Closet. Members of the community donate clothing. Students can select up to five items to keep.

According to Kelsey D鈥橝ndrea, assistant director for the Center for Student and Community Engagement (SCE), the Career Closet takes its cue from the successful Panther Pantry, which provides food and other necessities to members of the community in need. When SCE saw the need for work attire, 鈥渨e thought it would be a good idea to start our own Career Closet,鈥 D鈥橝ndrea said. 鈥淭his is a resource for students who may not be able to afford professional attire, or who may be unsure of what qualifies as professional attire, and need guidance. Professional clothing can be extremely expensive, so this is an option for students who may not be able to get their own professional clothing.鈥

Inspired by Rent the R耻苍飞补测听

The idea is similar to that of . Jennifer Hyman, CEO and cofounder, was the keynote speaker at Adelphi鈥檚 2024 Women鈥檚 Leadership Conference. She told the audience how she came up with the idea for her company: As a college student, she鈥檇 watched her sister go through her full closet but said she had nothing to wear and that her closet was 鈥渄ead鈥 to her. Hyman asked herself what it would mean for a closet to be alive and what a more environmentally sustainable alternative to fast fashion would look like. According to Hyman, 80 percent of the American wardrobe consists of what鈥檚 termed 鈥渇ast fashion鈥: inexpensive items that don鈥檛 last beyond a few wearings. Fast fashion is environmentally and socially unsustainable as it is a polluted industry where new clothing items are constantly being bought but never worn.

She created Rent the Runway to give women access to brand-name, designer apparel they could rent and return. 鈥淚 feel that the most powerful thing in particular that you could give to a woman is the power to change,鈥 Hyman said.

Attendees at the Women鈥檚 Leadership Conference were encouraged to donate items. A total of 157 items were collected on this day. Currently, the Career Closet has received up to 400 donations.

How to Access the Career Closet

D鈥橝ndrea pointed out that having the Career Closet on campus鈥攊n Earle Hall basement, Room 010鈥攎akes it convenient for students, especially those who don鈥檛 have access to a car. 鈥淏y having this resource on campus, students can make an appointment in between classes to check out the selection and see if anything may fit what they are looking for.鈥

Donors and students can schedule appointments to drop off or peruse the Career Closet by emailing engage@adelphi.edu.

NOTE: The endeavor of providing free professional attire to 依依社区 students commenced in the fall of 2021 under the sponsorship of Artivism: The Power of Art for Social Transformation, an independent initiative sponsored by 依依社区; Sing for Hope; and Gottesman Libraries, Teachers College, Columbia University, in collaboration with Bake Back America. “Dress for Success: Celebrating First Generation Students” events were made possible through the leadership of Adelphi professor Stephanie Lake, PhD; adjunct professor Argie Agelarakis; Carolina Cambronero Varela ’09; and founder of Bake Back America, Melissa Subin.

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