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A shot of the Student Government Association logo sign at the 2019 SGA Inauguration on Apr. 9, 2019 at the University of Georgia Chapel in Athens, Georgia. The Empower ticket was sworn into office along with senator-elects. (Photo/Julian Alexander)

All year, University of Georgia Student Government Association Senators Matthew McDaniel and Sabina Ashurova have loaned their own professional clothes to their peers in need. By next fall, they hope that will no longer be necessary with the opening of their professional clothing closet initiative in collaboration with the Career Center.

“Students are constantly applying for different things, whether that be a club leadership position or becoming an RA next year,” said Ashurova, who served as a first-year senator in the 31st administration. “So many people come up to me asking, ‘Can I borrow a blazer? Do you have a suit that I can borrow?’”

Seeing the need for professional clothing around campus first hand pushed her and McDaniel to author Resolution 31-11, “A Resolution to Establish a Professional Clothing Closet to Provide Free Business Attire for Students,” which was passed by Senate in February.

The pair picked up the initiative from former Senators Max Harris and Griffin Hamstead, who passed similar legislation last year in the 30th SGA administration.

“A lot of the projects that the Senate should work on are multi-year initiatives,” Harris said. “We wanted to lay a foundation that could be drawn upon in this Senate administration.”

Currently, students eligible for need-based aid are able to apply for the Dawgs Suit Up scholarship through the University Career Center in the fall and spring to purchase professional clothing at JCPenney. However, McDaniel said the eligibility requirement causes the program to miss a lot of students who might still need professional clothing.

“What we have learned is we don’t want someone’s economic means to prevent them from showing an employer what they are worth,” McDaniel said. “They should not have to choose between getting their next job and buying food for the week.”

The pair have assembled a committee of different offices around campus to help them with marketing, staffing, funding and other aspects of implementation. McDaniel said many previous senators have tried to achieve similar initiatives, only for them to graduate and leave the project behind.

“This committee is to ensure that even when we leave, there is still continuous oversight and make sure that this will continue for years,” McDaniel said.

McDaniel and Ashurova have already begun accepting donations for the closet and reaching out to stores for partnerships to ensure size diversity in the closet’s offerings.

The two hope to have the career closet up and running by next fall.

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