Professional clothing donation program for students created at Mount Allison
Several years ago, a need was identified on campus for students to get assistance acquiring professional clothing to help transition from university into the workforce. In the fall, a $42,000 grant from Post-Secondary Education, Training, and Labour (PETL) was secured by the Academic Support department to create the Dress to Impress: Professional Clothing for Students program, which includes start-up costs, staffing, overhead, and maintenance of the program for the next four years.
First generation program administrator Cynthia Dyck (’22) is the program’s co-ordinator. She says the aim of ‘Dress to Impress’ is to provide lightly used professional attire to students who do not have the funds or the access locally to outfit themselves.
“There are many instances while attending university where there is an expectation to dress professionally, such as presentations, conferences, and interviews, which inadvertently excludes people and are occasions that impact academic and career performance,” she says.
Yellow Dress to Impress Professional Clothing for Students Donation Bins are located on the Student Centre ground floor and at Jennings (for student use only). As donations come in, the clothing will be washed and made available in the professional closet location in the basement of the Chapel.
Students will be able to drop into the Chapel during building hours (8 a.m.-9 p.m. daily) to browse or book a one-on-one consultation. Students can keep the clothing or they can return the clothing to the donation bins on campus, where they will be cleaned and organized back into the closet for use by other students.
The program is just one step in helping students enter into the workforce.
“The belief that obtaining a degree grants instant access to an industry does not recognize that students have diverse backgrounds and different levels of accessibility to their desired career path,” says Dyck.
Along with the Dress to Impress: Professional Clothing for Students program, a host of programming has been created to help mitigate the challenges faced by first-generation and low-income students, such as alumni mentorship; one-on-one support; and workshops on professional development that cater to their unique needs.
Clothing donations are now being accepted in the yellow donation bins on campus and students can access the clothing in the Chapel starting on February 1.