Hibriten grad gives ASU students gift of a first impression

Mar. 04, 2014 @ 03:04 PM

On the fourth floor of Raley Hall, home of the Walker College of Business at Appalachian State University, there’s a special closet.

Once empty, the space is now full of business attire —suits, button-down shirts and the like — that students can check out when they start scheduling job interviews.

Without the efforts of a Caldwell County native, the closet would still be empty.

Tiffany Davis, a Hibriten High School graduate and a senior management major at Appalachian, came up with the idea as she watched students file in to networking events hosted by the business school. You’d see “black suit, black suit, black suit … cargo pants,” Davis said — students were making do with what they could afford, and not all could afford professional attire.

So Davis launched the Legacy Closet, which will give Walker College of Business students a chance to schedule an appointment to pick up a full interview outfit, along with vouchers for tailoring and dry-cleaning, before the string of senior-year interviews begins. The outfits aren’t on loan —they will be the students’ to keep.

“It’s a way to motivate students if they can’t go out and buy a $400 suit — because it’s college. Nobody can,” Davis said.

It’s called the Legacy Closet because it’s a way for College of Business alumni to support current students without making expensive monetary gifts. Even if you don’t have the money for a $1,000 recurring pledge, Davis said, you can still give back.

“Even if you donate one suit or one pair of pants you’ve outgrown, that’s going to help a student,” she said.

The closet will be administered by members of the Walker Fellows, a group that serves as the business school’s student ambassadors, so it will last well beyond Davis’ May graduation. And the fellows will maintain it like the business students they are, scheduling individual appointments with each interested students, continuously raising funds for the project and keeping a careful inventory of everything in stock. Right now, after the first few donations, the closet is heavy on men’s suits and shirts, but the students want to expand it to make sure it can serve men and women of all shapes and sizes.

It’s a way, Davis said, to help those students who didn’t have suits to wear as they handed their resumes out – a chance for those students to make a first impression that will lead to a career.

“Most of the time, those are the people that have worked the hardest,” Davis said. “They deserve any opportunity they can get.”