by SCOTTI MULLEN
On Sept. 6, the College of Education opened the COE Clothes Closet in Seacobeck Hall for education students to borrow professional clothing to wear to their teaching practicums.
“I think it is a valuable resource since this can help take away a potential stressor,” said Associate Dean of Clinical Experiences and Partnerships for the COE Kristina Peck. “Some students don’t have transportation to take them to a clothing store to try on clothes but buying clothes online causes anxiety. Some students do not have the finances to just be able to buy another pair of dress pants because maybe their one pair got a stain on it.”
Grace Strong, a student aide for the COE and a junior double major in elementary education and English, has worked for the COE since the start of the closet and is happy with the amount of people interested in it. She said that five people have utilized the closet in the week that it’s been open.
“We’ve had a decent amount for how long it’s been open,” said Strong. “We’ve also had a ton of donations, which is great. We’ve already had a lot of interest in it.”
The project was started over the summer and led by COE professors and staff.
“The closet was an idea developed by Dr. Jennifer Walker because she saw a need to help support our students this way,” said Peck. “She kept clothes in her office in James Farmer but when we moved into Seacobeck, we saw an opportunity to expand the closet since we now had space.”
Peck has witnessed students struggling to balance all facets of their life while completing their teaching practicums.
“I have seen our COE students struggle financially as they try to balance school, clinical experiences (practicum or internship) and work,” she said. “Often, work must be put on the backburner for our students to be able to focus on developing their skills as a teacher.”
Bernadette D’Auria, a graduate student in the five-year education program for English, is excited to see the closet and believes it will be a success.
“I think the resource closet is a fantastic idea for students, especially those in practicums for the first time,” she said. “It allows people who may not have been prepared for a school’s dress code the ability to have professional clothing without spending money. My experiences with COE have always been positive, so I’m sure that when it comes time for me to finally visit the resource closet that the interactions will be nice.”
Peck hopes the closet will make practicum more accessible for students.
“Having clothing that makes you feel good helps give you confidence,” said Peck. “We want to help create future educators who feel confident when they enter the classroom and if this is one way to help, I’m glad we are able to do it.” Students can access the COE Clothes Closet by speaking to a student aide in Seacobeck 103. The closet is open Monday 9 a.m.-10 a.m. and 3 p.m.-4 p.m., Tuesday 2 p.m.-4 p.m. and 5 p.m.-6 p.m., Wednesday 9 a.m.-10 a.m. and 3 p.m.-4 p.m., Thursday 2 p.m.-4 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m.-10 a.m. Anyone with questions or to set up an appointment can email COEstudentasst@gmail.com.