Boutique at NJ university offers free business attire for students
Making a good impression either at a job interview or an internship can be a daunting experience, especially for college students who do not have the resources to purchase proper business attire.
According to the 2018 RealCollege Survey School Report prepared by Hope Center for College Community and Justice at Temple University, about 51% of college students do not have the proper professional attire to wear for an interview or an internship.
At Felician University, a small Franciscan university in Lodi, there are 1,600 students, many of whom come from low-income families where they receive aid to pay for their courses.
Sister Annelle Velivis, director of The Blessed Mary Angela Institute at Felician University, said the school wrote a grant and received $25,000 to launch the boutique called Suits U. She said she teamed up with Ridgewood Moving Services, which supplied most of the clothes, which are often left behind by people who move. Faculty staff and administration have also contributed clothing to the boutique.
Velivis said students can come to the boutique, which is set up in Goya Dining Hall, and shop for interview clothing. She said young men can get suits, ties and shoes. Young women and pick out an outfit, shoes, jewelry and bags.
The clothing is free but Velivis said students must perform volunteer hours of a service of their choosing.
"We would like to give our students the tools they need to be a success in this life so they could take care of their families if they get married, take care of themselves," said Velivis.
Student don't necessarily have to take only one outfit at a time. Velivis said the clothing will be handed out on an individual basis. For example, education majors who must do student teaching as part of their course load, may need clothing to teach for six weeks or so. Velivis said their volunteers will help these young men and women pick out clothes, then mix and match them with other items.
"So the student has to tell us where she or he is going and give us an idea of about how much clothing they would need, " said Velivis.
Cindy Myer, president of Ridgewood Moving Services, has donated clothes to Suits U and assured Velivis she can continue to provide clothes, shoes and pocketbooks to the boutique for quite some time.
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