Sai Saripella
Mercury Staff

Clothes from Comet Closet available after completion of workshops

A new program started by a professor in the School of Management will help provide formal clothes for underprivileged students who need business attire for interviews.

The program, which is called the Comet Closet, will have used clothes that can be worn by  students that needs them for internships or job interviews. Comet Closet’s donated goods will only be provided to students who have already completed a certain number of career prep workshops and have had their resumes reviewed by the Career Center.

Marilyn Kaplan, the associate dean of undergraduate education and a professor in the School of Management, came up with the idea for the program.

“I was thinking about the fact that we have a need for the Comet Cupboard,” said Kaplan. “If we have students who cannot afford dinner, how can they afford a suit for an interview? We are educating them, getting them ready for careers, but they still need to make a professional first impression in interviews and on the job.”

Inspired by the Comet Cupboard, the program will have pop-up shops of donated clothing available. Although the dates and locations are yet to be determined, the shops will be open once or twice a semester in preparation for events such as the career fair.

Nick Hinojosa, the undergraduate student services coordinator for the JSOM, helped Kaplan get the project off the ground.

“The bulk of the funds are very small donations from students and faculty members across the business school. The biggest one actually came from an alumnus from the Gordon MBA program,” he said. “It’s not something that’s just an interview outfit, hopefully it’s something you can wear on the job as well.”

The School of Management will provide business internship credit to students who volunteer to run the store. Students that volunteer will spend their time with handling inventory systems, marketing, and general management. The program will not only offer to meet the needs of current students but will be a long term solution, Kaplan said.

“Once it is established, we would like to have a competition among student organizations to find the organization that will take over the management of the Comet Closet,” Kaplan said.

Kapland said she would also like to see a winter coat drive to help students who are unprepared for cold winter.

The Comet Closet is set to start this upcoming fall semester in the School of Management. In her 16 years as part of the university’s faculty, Kaplan said that projects like these are what she enjoys in her position.

“My favorite part of my job is working on initiatives like this that improve the experience for our students,” said Kaplan.