Community generosity fills the business cupboard

CMU is receiving an outpouring of support for the student-led initiative

When CMU student and accounting club president Lee Ann Norton realized that so many students refused to attend the annual Meet the Firms networking event with local business leaders—just because they didn’t have the right attire—she decided to do something about it. She knew of an organization elsewhere that raised money to buy a student a brand new outfit and decided to create a similar initiative with a twist. Passionate about environmental sustainability and not wanting to limit the amount of clothing per student, Norton envisions a system to collect and distribute second-hand clothing and seeks staff advisors, fellow students and community partners to make it happen.

Director of Career Services Sadye Saad and COSI Admissions & Advisory Coach Stephanie Parsons guided Norton and fellow business student Olivia Pulford through the process of organizing a student committee, budgeting and courting sponsors. The initiative, which has been dubbed The Business Closet, has received an outpouring of support from community partners and CMU stakeholders in its first three months and is steadily gaining momentum as the official launch date nears.

Over 200 items of clothing were donated by Heirlooms for Hospice, Mor Storage Sales, CMU Trustee Kasia Iwaniczko MacLeod and CMU Trustee Amy Lentz, while $9,000 in sponsorships were donated by Cigna, Timberline Bank and Dalby, Wendland & Co., PC

Signs on each clothing rack will proudly display the logos of the founding sponsors, as well as QR codes leading to helpful student resources such as resume and cover letter tutorials and mock interview planning with Career Services.

“I applaud The Business Closet that CMU has developed. First impressions are critical to building relationships in our business. So giving not only our interns but the community of business professionals the opportunity to dress for success has such a positive impact,” said Chris West, CEO of Dalby, Wendland & Co., PC

“I applaud The Business Closet that CMU has developed. First impressions are critical to building relationships in our business. So giving not only our employee interns, but the community of business professionals the opportunity to dress for success has such a positive impact. ” – Chris West, CEO of Dalby, Wendland & Co., PC

The committee plans to expand this initiative to include all types of industry-specific apparel for the jobs that CMU and WCCC are training students for, and will place multiple racks on both campuses.

“We are so excited to see this vision come to life and make professional attire easily accessible to all students. Timberline Bank is grateful to be able to support our local students and reinvest in their futures,” said Hannah Ellis, Marketing Specialist for Timberline Bank.

“We are so excited to see this vision come to life and make professional attire easily accessible to all students. Timberline Bank is grateful to be able to support our local students and reinvest in their future.” – Hannah Ellis, Timberline Bank Marketing Specialist

The Palisade, Grand Junction, Fruita and Western Colorado Latino Chambers of Commerce will kick off the official opening of The Business Closet on Sept. 1 at 9 a.m. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Davis School of Business. The Maverick Job Fair will immediately follow in The Plaza from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and there will be racks of clothing for students to browse and try on at the Career Services booth. This is also The Business Closet’s first official clothing campaign and community members are encouraged to wear gently used office

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clothing and accessories for donation. A ‘top up’ station will be set up near the rugby pitch for convenient collection of donations.

“To our founding sponsors of The Business Closet — Cigna, Timberline Bank and Dalby, Wendland & Co, PC — thank you for your contributions to our vision and thank you for showing me what it means to be part of a community,” said the CMU student Olivia Pulford, who is on the committee.

“To our founding sponsors of The Business Closet — Cigna, Timberline Bank and Dalby, Wendland & Co, PC — thank you for your contributions to our vision and thank you for showing me what it means to be part of a community.” – Student Member CMU Committee Olivia Pulford

The Palisade Chamber of Commerce, the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce and the Fruita Area Chamber of Commerce have agreed to serve as drop-off locations for donations on September 1st.

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Written by Hannah Odneal

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