savina's closet: dressed for success
Do you want to know how I got five business suits for free? Keep reading and I will tell you how you can also get your hands on one or more free suits. Since October is Career Month, we would be remiss if we did not mention Savina’s Closet, a unique program at Towson University that promotes professional attire by – you guessed it – giving suits away to students for free.
The brainchild of Savina Wiggins, Student Employment Coordinator/Career Advisor at the Career Center, the idea was born during a discussion with fellow staff members about the fall 2011 Career and Internship Fair. The staff noticed some students were not dressed up to professional standards and wanted to help them understand the significance of professional attire. Upon receiving support from her peers, Wiggins put the program into motion.
“I just want students to really grasp that your professional image is very important in your career search. A polished, confident appearance helps to introduce you as an individual who is qualified and capable. Your appearance affirms to employers that you are taking your career search seriously,” says Wiggins.
Last year’s inaugural suit giveaway was a resounding success, setting the bar high for this year’s event, which did not disappoint. Led by Laura Smith, Internship Coordinator/Career Advisor at the Career Center and two graduate assistants, the bar was raised even higher.
On September 30, 2013, I walked into the Career Center to find a large group of students being assisted by the friendly Career Center staff as they searched through a wide assortment of suits, suit separates, dress shirts, and ties. A professional tailor was also available onsite to help students find the correct sizes. I was able to find a great suit, and even got to try it on. I also found a nice shirt and a tie to complete the ensemble. The event was very organized, as I was able to get help in making my selections and check out quickly.
As I expected, I ran into some familiar faces at the event. “I wasn’t planning on attending this event, but I’m glad I did.
The experience was great and the selection of suits was impressive. Having a tailor there was also helpful. The best part is that I saved a few hundred dollars and got a nice suit for my internship,” said Tan Le, a fellow Accounting major.
So how did I end up with five suits? Well, Savina’s Closet is a one-day event, and the large collection of donated suits assembled by the Career Center was even more than they could give away in one day. I checked back the next day only to find out that there remained still a decent selection of suits; luckily for me, a few were my size. Since the selection is limited after the event, there is no limit on chosen items. The leftover items are later donated to Goodwill.
A look behind the scenes reveals the preparation that goes into the Savina’s Closet program. The Career Center staff works meticulously to develop partnerships with employers, faculty members, and alumni to make it a possibility. Faculty members and alumni are contacted for donations. Employers such as Enterprise and KPMG have played prominent roles in assisting with drop-off sites and collections. ZIPS Dry Cleaners generously dry-cleaned all suits at no cost for both years. The Career Center staff carefully sorts through donations to ensure all items are appropriate for business settings and organize suits by size. The event is marketed through multiple channels on campus, such as the Master Events Calendar, T3 emails, and Hire@TU. Students must register for the event and may choose one suit, a shirt, and a tie at the event. All items are given away on a first-come first-served basis.
As business students, we must understand the significance of making a great first impression. Whether it is an interview or a meeting with a client, appropriate attire allows young professionals to start off on the right foot by “looking the part.” Thanks to the staff at the Career Center, events like Savina’s Closet continue to demonstrate Towson University’s commitment to its students’ professional growth.
If you have any questions, contact Laura Smith at the Career Center (firstname.lastname@example.org).