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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Campus Closet helps Wildcats dress for success

Campus+closet+on+Jan.+15+on+the+UA+campus.+The+closet+offers+students+all+kinds+of+cloths+from+shoes+and+belts+to+dress+cloths.
Sierra Blaser
Campus closet on Jan. 15 on the UA campus. The closet offers students all kinds of cloths from shoes and belts to dress cloths.

Campus Closet, located on the first floor of the Student Union Memorial Center in the Sonora Room, is an Associated Students of the University of Arizona organization that collects and gives used and new business, professional and casual clothing items to students and staff members free of charge.

These clothing items are typically used for internship and job interviews, professional events or daily wear. The organization’s website says that it strives to address the issue that qualified individuals are less likely to obtain certain job opportunities if they do not have the proper resources to look professional.

Kayla Randolph, the director of Campus Closet, said that the organization started as a passion project in 2018; however, it became much more widespread in 2020 during the pandemic.

“Since then, it’s really just been focused on growing, trying to serve users and growing our capacity to serve everyone,” Randolph said.

Randolph, an elementary education major, said that she has always been interested in working with nonprofits and getting more involved in her community. As an out-of-state student, Randolph said that she saw the student director position for Campus Closet as a way to connect to the Tucson community in an interesting and important way.

“I absolutely fell in love with it,” Randolph said. “Even though now I’m student teaching, I still stay just to see the program grow, support the student staff that works here and support the wildcat community that comes to utilize the program.”

Bridgette Riebe, the assistant director of Basic Needs at the University of Arizona, has been working with the closet since the fall of 2020 and helped them secure a permanent location on campus. She said that one of her favorite parts about being a part of the organization has been getting to know the students involved.

“The students have such a passion for the work,” Riebe said. “It’s incredible watching students come in with a need and leave with a new outfit and confidence to be themselves.”

During this past fall semester, Randolph said that the program was seeing about 200-250 users per week, whereas the program was seeing about 50 users per week when she first joined the organization in 2021.

“There’s still a lot of stigma surrounding clothing insecurity because everyone just assumes that if you’re coming to college, you must have clothes,” Randolph said. “But really, we serve a large spectrum of people that face clothing insecurity. There’s international students who are only allowed to bring one suitcase of clothes, or there’re out-of-state students who don’t realize the climate of Arizona and they brought different types of clothes.”

Rebecca Murillo, a Campus Closet graduate assistant, said that going forward, the organization is hoping to get more recognition from the student body.

“Campus Closet is a lot smaller than Campus Pantry,” Murillo said. “Not a lot of people know of Closet; it’s more so the pantry, even though we’re right next to each other. It’s our goal to continue putting our name out there, just letting people know that there’s also a service that targets clothing insecurity.”

The organization uses a point-based system for students to take clothes. Students are allowed four points per visit and are able to earn an extra by bringing a reusable bag, volunteering or tagging the organization in a post or story on Instagram. (Picture is from Campus Closet Website)

When students arrive at Campus Closet, they should first present their CatCard to validate their affiliation with the UA. They are then able to browse the clothing selection and try items on in the fitting rooms. Once students have picked the items they want, they can check out at the checkout desk and take their items home to enjoy.

The organization’s website says that there is currently a need for petite women’s professional clothing (skirts, dresses, blouses, pants etc.) and small or medium men’s blazers/suits. For those who are interested in donating, donations are accepted at the information desk in the Student Union every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or in the Sonora Room during Campus Pantry or Campus Closet hours.

This semester, distribution hours are Tuesdays from 2 to 6 p.m. and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information for updates and volunteer opportunities, please visit the Campus Closet’s Instagram.


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About the Contributor
Sierra Blaser
Sierra Blaser, Arts & Life Editor
Sierra is a junior majoring in Journalism with a minor in Public Relations.