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HUA Launches the Crimson Career Closet for Students to Borrow Professional Clothes for Free

HUA Co-Presidents LyLena D. Estabine '24 and Travis Allen Johnson '24 stand next to a clothing rack of formal wear donated by students and faculty. The Crimson Career Closet initiative opened on Monday in the Smith Campus Center.
HUA Co-Presidents LyLena D. Estabine '24 and Travis Allen Johnson '24 stand next to a clothing rack of formal wear donated by students and faculty. The Crimson Career Closet initiative opened on Monday in the Smith Campus Center. By Jennifer Z. Liang
By Natalie K Bandura, Crimson Staff Writer

The Harvard Undergraduate Association held the grand opening of the University’s first Crimson Career Closet Monday afternoon on the 10th floor of the Smith Campus Center in partnership with Common Spaces and the Office of Career Services.

HUA Co-President Travis Allen Johnson ’24 said he felt the opening of the clothing closet was a “huge success” and anticipates a “great reception from students” in its future iterations.

“I think it was really incredible seeing students come and really express that this is something that they really want,” Johnson said. “I know one student in particular came and was able to look through clothing and mentioned that this is a resource that not only will she benefit from, but she’ll also tell her roommates and her friends.”

The clothing closet will remain open to students Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. During its first day, visitors were only allowed to view the clothing collection, though beginning Friday, students can make an appointment on the HUA website to check out clothing from the closet.

Students can preview the HUA’s inventory on the website and filter clothing by size or color, and may arrive at their appointment with a specific item in mind or come to browse. Students may also donate items of clothing by bringing them to the HUA office or general meetings.

“It’s personally and professionally really exciting and rewarding to see this come to fruition,” Johnson said. “This is a program that LyLena and I have envisioned for almost a year now when we decided to run together.”

About 20 to 30 students visited the grand opening, Johnson said. Two Harvard staff members came to donate clothes. The HUA provided doughnuts and lemonade to students who attended.

Dawn Ling, an assistant director of administration at the Office of Undergraduate Education, came by the clothing closet on its opening day to donate items.

“If the students find it to be helpful, and they’re receptive to this, then I’m 100 percent in support. I think it’s a wonderful thing,” Ling said. “I know when I was a college student that lots of my classmates could have benefited from it.”

Ling said she heard from a colleague there was also a professional clothing initiative under the former student government structure, the Undergraduate Council, which subsidized professional clothing purchases for a select number of students. Upon reaching out to HUA co-president LyLena D. Estabine ’24, Ling learned about the clothing closet.

Estabine said the co-presidents were inspired by their work in the Undergraduate Council to create the clothing closet, building on the previous government’s initiative, which provided subsidies to some students to purchase professional clothing.

“There were always more students who needed the service than could be provided for,” Estabine said. “We wanted to create a system that was more sustainable, both environmentally as well as economically, and make student activity fee dollars work further and for longer.”

—Staff writer Natalie K Bandura can be reached at natalie.bandura@thecrimson.com.

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