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(April 1, 2016) — Fresno State has been battling student hunger issues and is now helping students with a new project, dressing for success through donations from the campus and community to the Clothing Closet.

The new initiative, coordinated through the Career Development Center in the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, helps students obtain professional clothing for interviews, career fairs and first jobs from donations that have been coming in since the program’s soft launch in the fall.

Now with a location on campus to store and showcase the attire, the project will hold a grand opening at 10 a.m. Friday, April 1, at the center in the Frank W. Thomas building Room 103 (east of Kennel Bookstore).

The concept was created based on evaluation of student need and a demonstrated interest by community members to support students with clothing donations, said Debbie Young, director for the center and creator of the Clothing Closet.

“We were receiving phone calls from the community asking if we had such a program for donations,” Young said.

The idea took root as she began receiving donations of professional clothing last semester from faculty, staff, administrators and the community. Students showcased those donations in a fashion show in December.

Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro supported the idea by providing funds to help purchase racks and other equipment to start the closet, Young said.

Young’s focus was to involve students in creating and sustaining the closet, and she engaged campus clubs such as the Hispanic Business Student AssociationFresno State American Marketing AssociationStudent Society of Human Resources Management and Fashion Inc!.

The project provided class service-learning opportunities for both a fashion merchandising and nonprofit management class, and Young worked with faculty to recruit student volunteers.

Community collaboration was instrumental for the Clothing Closet with support from the Central California Society of Human Resources Management, several retailers and the Fresno State Alumni Association that connected alumni donors.

Dr. Frank Lamas, vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, said, “We are very thankful to all those who have contributed to the success of our students through this innovative initiative.”

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