Because most college students and soon-to-be graduates need jobs but usually do not own the proper attire for interviews, Raiders’ Closet is once again offering to help by providing students with free clothes, shoes and attire this semester.
Raiders’ Closet is the brainchild of Virginia Hemby-Grubb, a professor in the Jennings A. Jones College of Business at Middle Tennessee State University.
It was created to provide MTSU students with free clothes, shoes and accessories that they can wear on job interviews and keep for their very own.
But it might not have come into being at all if Hemby-Grubb had not shed 60 pounds. In gaining a new figure, she also gained a new service project.
With help from Jim Burton, the former dean of the College of Business, Hemby-Grubb started Raiders’ Closet with many of the clothes she could no longer wear and stored them in Room in the south side of the Business and Aerospace Building.
On Friday, Raiders’ Closet held its 2013 fall semester grand opening.
Now that it is back open for business, students may ramble through the racks between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. every Friday in hopes of finding professional attire that fits both their style and their dimensions.
In addition to financial need, Hemby-Grubb said, another reason Raiders’ Closet is such a necessity is that college students tend to assume that they can carry over the casualness of their university lifestyle to a business environment.
Consequently, many of them show up for job interviews in low-cut blouses, very short skirts and three-inch spiked heels with tattoos and piercings clearly visible on several body parts.
“You should spend the time and the effort to put on a suit and tie or, in a woman’s case, a suit with a nice blouse,” she said. “These people are taking time out from their busy day to interview you because they thought your resume was impressive enough to schedule an interview. So, show them the respect they deserve.”
Of course, she said, donors have to keep appropriateness in mind when they contribute their clean, gently used garments to Raiders’ Closet.
While Hemby-Grubb said she is grateful for any and all donations, sometimes well-meaning people give clothes that were appropriate for a middle-aged worker 30 or 40 years ago.
Although some nontraditional students might not object to wearing these clothes, most 18- to 24-year-olds would cringe at the outdated styles. After all, new graduates do not have to look frumpy or funereal in order to impress the boss that they are serious about getting down to work, she noted.
Conversely, Raiders’ Closet does not accept clothes that might be more appropriate for a night out on the town either.
“We’re not accepting things you would take to Goodwill just to clean out your closet,” Hemby-Grubb said. “We want our MTSU graduates to come out of here looking professional.”
For those unsure of what to donate, Raiders’ Closet also accepts monetary donations through the MTSU Foundation.
To find out more about the program, contact Hemby-Grubb at 615-898-2369 or