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Campus Closet holds first distribution day

Courtesy Andrea Gauthier
A student looks through the offerings at Campus Closet in the Student Union Memorial Center. Campus Closet held its first distribution day on Monday, Feb. 25, 2019.

Campus Closet hosted its first distribution at Student Engagement and Career Development in the Student Union Memorial Center on Monday, Feb. 25. The student-run program collects and distributes professional clothing to UA students for free. 

Campus Closet was spearheaded by Katie Christopher, the ASUA senator for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. 

“I got the idea last May,” Christopher said. “I was thinking of senate projects I could do that would bring something to ASUA, because the year before I attempted to do some projects, but I didn’t go full out.” 

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Christopher recalled how her struggle to get non-slip shoes for her job her freshman year motivated her to create Campus Closet. 

“They were kind of hard for me to get,” she said. “They were very expensive at almost every store I had gone to. I had to ask my mom for a bit of money, which was hard at the time.” 

Madeline Melichar, senator for the College of Engineering, helped Christopher start the program. 

“It was really Katie’s idea,” Melichar said. “She went off of Campus Pantry and how we were helping students in need but really focusing on how we’re going to get a job and how business-professional attire is really key, but it costs a lot of money.” 

With the support of ASUA, Christopher set up donation boxes at 13 locations across campus, including McClelland Park and the Swede Johnson Building. 

“[Christopher] just keyed out what areas around campus would be ideal for drop-offs,” Melichar said. “From there, it was just collecting everything that would make a store: hangers, lint rollers, steamers. It was just a collection process and now we have a lot of inventory.” 

Campus Closet is currently looking for women’s clothing in smaller sizes and men’s clothing.

“Right now, we’re really looking for men’s suits and blazers and jackets,” Christopher said. She said Campus Closet hopes to reach out to the business fraternities on campus in the future for more men’s donations. 

Claire Adams, 19, came to the first distribution. 

“Clothes can cost a lot, and it’s very important for students to have clothes for job interviews, and they may not be able to afford it if they have to pay for other college things,” Adams said. 

Andrea Gauthier is a friend of Christopher’s that also went to the distribution. 

“I know Katie personally. She’s been really pushing for this for quite some time now,” Gauthier said. “Seeing the advertisements on social media around campus and emails, it’s great to see it finally happen.”

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Christopher and Melichar want the program to continue after they graduate.

“I don’t want it to end with me,” Christopher said. “I’m looking for someone to take it over. The process of this becoming a service to students like Campus Pantry would be amazing.”

Christopher wants to start another drive as soon as possible. To stay updated on drop-off locations and future distribution days, follow Campus Closet on Instagram

Follow Priya Jandu on Twitter

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