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MCC Launches Purple Closet Free Professional Clothing Program for Students

[Friday, March 22, 2019]


The McHenry County College Business Club was presented with a plaque for their outstanding efforts with the Purple Closet. Pictured are, from left, Megan Scanlan, coordinator of Student Activities; Sherry Ridge, instructor and Business Club advisor; Barrett Wellendorf, Business Club president; Caden Fosnaugh, Business Club vice president and Talia Koronkiewicz, Ph.D. vice president of Student Affairs. Not pictured are: Cullen Bennett, treasurer and John Pergler, secretary.

McHenry County College (MCC) students are helping each other put their best foot forward and achieve a successful first impression at job interviews. The MCC Business Club has established the Purple Closet, which helps students get—at no cost—professional attire for their interviews or other professional business meetings.

The Purple Closet, which started in February, provides vouchers to students to access professional clothing and accessories through the Business Club’s partnerships with local profit and non-profit clothing resale establishments. Partners include: Bethesda Thrift Store in Crystal Lake, the Clothing Closet in Woodstock, Goodwill resale stores in Algonquin, Crystal Lake, Huntley and McHenry; and the Sparrow’s Nest thrift stores in Algonquin, Cary, McHenry, Mundelein, Palatine and Woodstock. The Purple Closet is funded by Business Club fundraising efforts that includes contributions from MCC faculty and staff.

“The Purple Closet can benefit every student at MCC who chooses to take advantage of it,” said Barrett Wellendorf of Cary, Business Club president. “Our program offers students easy access to professional clothing for free, with no strings attached.”

“By partnering with local businesses, we offer students access to professional clothing so they can nail their job interview by showing their employers they are well put-together,” Wellendorf said.

Sherry Ridge, Business Club advisor said she and Business Club members first discussed the idea after one of her students told her that he needed business attire for a job interview, but could not afford to buy new clothing.

“Business Club members jumped on board last fall and approached the idea similar to starting a new business—students wrote vision and mission statements and reached out to business partners in the community,” Ridge said. “So far, we have four students who received vouchers to buy their clothing, Ridge said, adding that vouchers provide students a convenient opportunity to shop on their own time at the participating businesses.

Wellendorf said he and business club members are pleasantly surprised at how well the Purple Closet was well-received by both local business partners and college administration.

“Our largest struggle was likely creating a program with a voucher that would work for all of our partners,” Wellendorf said. “However, because of how willing and ready our partners have been, we have been able to create a system that works for every store involved.”

“We’ve had an amazing start so far for the Purple Closet, but there is more we would like to do with it, “Wellendorf said, noting that club members would like to expand the program to include work boots and scrubs for students entering manufacturing and healthcare fields.

Purple Closet vouchers are available from five different MCC offices, including faculty offices in Rooms A122 and A124, Career Services in Room A252, Student Success Center in A247 and Health and Wellness in Room B172.





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