The University of Georgia Student Government Association (SGA) Professional Clothing Closet, which provides students with one free gently used professional outfit per academic year, recently reached 500 students served.
The clothing closet was established in 2019, and although the pandemic initially slowed operations, it has since returned to full service.
The deputy executive director of the SGA Clothing Closet, Calvin Rausch, said this milestone feels personal.
“This is 500 potential dreams in the making and we get to be a part of that,” Rausch said.
The closet receives clothing from donations and partnerships with businesses and organizations, and students can schedule appointments to pick up clothing orders through the closet’s website. The clothing closet is located in Tate Student Center and is managed by a team of 16 people.
Rausch said the closet helps students identify a professional style that works for them and they feel confident in. Students who visit the closet can receive personalized advice about the fit or style of clothing from the closet’s staff.
“However they are comfortable presenting as professional, we are happy to provide them with that,” Rausch said.
Macy McKinley, executive director of the SGA Clothing Closet, said clothing is available to all students regardless of major, college or level of degree being pursued.
She said the closet is working to expand accessibility even further by creating smaller “hubs” across campus where students can receive the closet’s services.
McKinley said she values the opportunity to improve students’ confidence about their interviews, internships and jobs.
“It’s as simple as a suit,” McKinley said. “A lot of these students already have the talent, the skills, the knowledge to really achieve their dream jobs.”
McKinley and Rausch said a few students stuck out to them because of their unique backgrounds and circumstances that led them to the closet. Rausch said she helped a new student from a rural area find a business professional outfit that helped him get involved with organizations on campus.
“Being able to send him home with a suit … It’s just one of those moments that make it worth it,” Rausch said.
SGA will expand their outreach programs soon, with a new program located on east campus called the Fresh Express Free Student Market. The market will focus on providing free fresh produce to students in the UGA community and will be funded by the class of 2021 Student Alumni Council grant. It is scheduled to open in spring 2022.