All University of Nebraska–Lincoln students can now select free gently-used professional clothing from the Career Closet coordinated by the Delta Sigma Pi (DSP) business fraternity. Located in Hawks Hall room 102 just off the Welcome Center in the Diversity and Inclusion Gathering Space (DIGS), the closet is open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and boasts more than 4,000 items from which students can choose.
Featuring clothes donated by individuals and businesses, the Career Closet previously enabled nearly 1,000 students in the College of Business and College of Arts and Sciences to put their best foot forward when meeting with potential employers. Professional attire can help students feel confident and ready for early career opportunities.
"Each semester, students can get three items from us. It's exciting that so many students are coming in and taking advantage of the Career Closet," said Rory Trager, senior marketing major from Council Bluffs, Iowa, who is one of the closet's co-directors. "It makes us feel like we're making a difference and helping students across campus feel great for an interview, whether they study architecture or business."
Trager shared that many students who visit the Career Closet come seeking clarity on what consists of proper business attire. The curation from DSP members takes out the ambiguity.
"A lot of times students don't understand what business professional attire means or even what business casual is. If you have to figure it out on your own, it's so expensive going shop to shop or ordering online when you don't know how it's going to fit. We are right here on campus in Hawks Hall and are free. You aren't chalking out a hundred dollars for something that may not fit or may not be proper attire," Trager said.
According to Trager, a little-known fact about the Career Closet remains a secret – many of its clothes are brand new with tags still on them. The other surprise is how faculty have donated multi-piece business suits to help students not bear that cost.
"You see the brands on these suits and you know that faculty spent a lot of money on them. This type of support from faculty is really cool because it shows how much they care about their students and that their success really matters to them," said Trager.
In 2017, the Career Closet started because the students in DSP wanted to make an impact on campus. It first provided clothing to exclusively business students before receiving enough clothing donations to serve the entire university.
"Our DSP members wanted to leave a legacy that gives back. The Career Closet's mission is to provide a needed resource to students at Nebraska for no cost while providing the students in DSP the real-life business experience of running a nonprofit store," said Laurie Miller, associate dean of undergraduate programs and curriculum and associate professor of practice in economics and DSP co-advisor.
Students manage all aspects of the project from inventory to marketing to scheduling. DSP members serve multiple shifts throughout each semester so the closet is open three days a week.
Businesses or individuals who want to make clothing or monetary donations can contact Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop off clothing donations in HLH 102. Learn more about the project at https://business.unl.edu/closet.
One of more than 25 business student organizations at Nebraska, DSP is a professional fraternity that fosters the study of business in higher education. Members form close bonds with fellow students, learn from experienced business professionals and utilize an extensive international network of fellow members.