Pitt clothing drive encourages students to dress to impress

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University of Pittsburgh students and their parents chipped in to help student job-seekers by donating used dress clothes at Pitt's first "Attire for Hire" clothing drive.

The clothing drive ran from Wednesday through Friday, coordinating with the semester-end arrival of parents picking up their children from campus.

Pitt's Office of Career Development and Placement Assistance ran the event, asking parents to bring any clean, gently worn clothing items and accessories that they were willing to donate.

Sandy Talbott, Pitt's parent and family liaison, estimated that parents donated several dozen men's and women's suits and numerous other accessories.

"We have had a great response," Ms. Talbott said.

The clothes will help to resupply inventory at the "Green Room," a service that loans clothes and accessories to Pitt students who need professional attire for a job interview or internship.

The Green Room project began five years ago when career development staff recognized that some students would benefit from having a bit of guidance on what to wear for interviews.

"We wanted to provide an on-site way for students to spruce up for a career fair without making them feel uncomfortable," said Karin Asher, associate director of the office.

Staff asked university faculty and alumni to donate used dress clothes, and they set aside a room to store the clothes in William Pitt Union.

"If a student ever expresses concern about not owning interview-appropriate attire, this is the perfect opportunity to introduce them to the Green Room and let them borrow pieces of clothing or accessories," Ms. Asher said.

Ms. Asher said that the career office also operates a mobile version of the Green Room, typically set up at career fairs.

With racks of clothes and accessories, a changing area, a mirror and toiletries, the mobile Green Room serves as a last-minute dressing room for students, many of whom are playing the role of job seeker for the first time.

"Many students are now familiar with the Green Room's presence at our Career Fairs and rely on it for one last glance in the mirror before heading in to speak with recruiters," Ms. Asher said.

Brett Sholtis: bsholtis@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1581.

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