SBU provides a new career resource for students

Clothes being organized in SBU Career Closet.BOLIVAR, Mo. – Southwest Baptist University students in need of professional wear as they prepare for their careers or internships can now “shop” at SBU’s Career Closet.

The Career Closet, which is located in the Clark University Success Center on the Bolivar campus, was created by Shonna Fore, director of career services at SBU.

“I’ve seen it done in several area schools, but I'm also a member of NACE – the National Association for Colleges and Employers. It's where I go to look at a lot of different career service resources,” Fore said. “I had known about career closets and so I did a lot of research on it and realized it's a huge need for students. Some of them can’t afford to buy professional wear or some of them have a last-minute need and they don't know where to get it, especially in Bolivar. Just seeing that there's a need and a desire for our students to be prepared was my goal behind it.”

The Career Closet has been open for less than a month. Fore announced last semester that the Closet would begin accepting donations, and as donations began to trickle in and the inventory began to grow, Fore announced that the Closet was officially open.

“We’ll continue to take donations year-round,” Fore said. “Right now, we have pants, shirts, skirts, suits, ties, belts, shoes – your basic professional wear. We're not opposed to more business-casual wear, as well, because not every employer requires professional attire. We currently have mainly business professional attire.”

Growing and developing the Career Closet has been a team effort, Fore said.

Shonna Fore, director of career servicesOur facilities department was phenomenal,” Fore said. “I asked them for help one day and they were here. The next day, they put it together for me, which I was very, very appreciative of. They took my idea and made it happen.”

In addition to the basic items the Closet currently has in stock, other requested items include:

  • Professional bags
  • Portfolios
  • Briefcases
  • Men's clothing and shoes
  • More sizes in women’s clothing and shoes
  • Mannequins to dress and promote the Career Closet

“If they are local, I'm willing to come pick up donations,” Fore said. “If they're not local, or if they don't mind coming here, they can drop off donations here at the office. I have a donation form that they can fill out, and we will get submitted for them.

“I've been telling people, as we go through the donations, if there are things that we can't use we would donate to Community Outreach Ministries (COM), if they are OK with that.”

As Career Services sorts through the donations, Fore’s student worker helps her determine what students might or might not wear.

“That is helpful because while I feel like I know what some of the trends are, our student worker was able to say, ‘Yes, I think a student would wear this,’ or ‘I don't think they would wear that,’ which was helpful.”

The Career Closet continues to accept donations. For more information on how or what to donate, contact Fore at careerservices@SBUniv.edu or (417) 328-1689.


PHOTO: Shonna Fore, director of career services at SBU, sorts through professional attire as part of the Career Closet.

*Published: 4-27-2021