Campus, News

Professional Clothing Closet reevaluates booking system after semester-long scheduling struggles

Boston University’s Professional Clothing Closet, which provides students with free, professional attire, has reevaluated its booking system to resolve its struggles with high demand and limited availability.

Clothing racks
Racks of clothing in the Professional Clothing Closet located in the Yawkey Student Center. The PCC, which opened in March 2022, has changed its booking system to accommodate high demand for appointments. WILL CHAPMAN/DFP STAFF

The Professional Clothing Closet opened in March 2022 and aims to help low-income BU students who might need professional attire. The closet, located in the Yawkey Center for Student Services, is a collaboration between BU’s Center for Career Development and the Newbury Center.

Each academic year, students have 30 minutes to grab up to four items of clothing, including one suit, from the closet, according to the Center for Career Development.

Sarah Garibova, the associate director in the Center for Career Development and manager of the PCC, said the closet was in high demand last semester. However, students would schedule appointments far in advance and not show up.

To combat this issue, Garibova said the PCC is planning on releasing weekly availability via Handshake, which differs from previous semesters where the closet’s entire calendar was available for students to schedule appointments months in advance.

“We’re committed to offering as much availability as our staffing will allow, part of that is dependent on funding,” she said.

Garibova said PCC is trying to increase students’ access to the closet by providing more opportunities, like workshops.

“We’re going to be offering more pop-up events and drop-in events, which are a way for students to access the closet’s collection outside a standard appointment,” she said. 

Yihsi Huang, a sophomore in Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, said the PCC was “packed” last year, which influenced her to book an appointment two weeks in advance.

“This year [scheduling] was really easy because I just looked it up [a week prior],” Huang said. “I think [it is] a lot faster than last year.”

Huang said, despite demand issues, the PCC had many great options for students who needed professional clothing last semester.

“I found a suit and dress pants and a dress shirt,” Huang said. “It was really helpful and there’s so [many] options.”

Huang said she thinks the PCC should allow multiple people per appointment to alleviate some of the closet’s high demand.

“Instead of just one person taking up a whole 30 minute block, they could have two or three different people looking at the same time,” Huang said.

Amanda Kautzman, associate director of BU summer term and PCC donator, said she thinks professional clothing is important because it shows maturity and confidence.

“I think having professional clothing… shows a future employer that you’re ready to enter the workforce,” Kautzman said. “When I dress in professional clothing… it makes me feel pretty powerful and competent.”

According to the Center for Career Development, clothes from the PCC were received primarily through donations dropped off at Yawkey, clothing drives, items bought off of their Amazon wishlist and financial donations made directly to the closet.

Kautzman said the Professional Clothing Closet is a good way to give back to the BU community.

“Professional clothing can be so costly on top of the fact that Boston University is already costly and so is living in the city for students,” Kautzman said. “It feels good for me to be able to give back to the community that I work in.”

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