Presbyterian College seniors have a lot on their plates during their final spring semester – the most pressing matter, of course, is preparing for life after PC. Graduate school applications for some. Job interviews for most.
Seniors have to write resumes, brushing up on interview skills, and – believe it or not – having the right thing to wear.
PC’s Office of Career and Professional Development has established Tartan Threads, which will officially opened Tuesday, Jan. 18, on the second floor of Laurens Hall.
Tartan Threads is a career closet for students who do not have access to professional clothing meant to impress prospective employers. It is open to all undergraduate students at PC. They will be allowed to receive items once a semester to complete an outfit for upcoming interviews and events.
Kim Lane, associate dean of students and director of the Office of Career and Professional Development, tasked assistant director Amy Kalayjian with developing a collection that will meet students’ needs.
Last summer, Kalayjian reached out to local businesses, corporations, faculty, and staff for donations – either funding or lightly used clothing to stock Tartan Threads. More than 300 items – skirts, dresses, slacks, jackets, shirts, and shoes – were given.
“We had a really wonderful response from faculty and staff,” said Kalayjian. “A majority of what we’ve collected came from them and some who have dropped off items multiple times. They’ve been very consistent.”
The result, said Kalayjian, is a robust inventory of items for students to choose from and a good space in an unused office in Career and Professional Development to look around.
“We wanted it to be a boutique experience for our students,” she said. “We really wanted it to feel like they’re shopping. I think we’ve curated a wonderful selection of clothes that will help our students get their foot in the door and start their professional lives.”
Lane said Tartan Threads is a significant endeavor that took the fall semester to plan and develop. With the initial hard work behind them, Career and Professional Development is ready to help students put their best feet forward.
“Now we can start advertising to our student body that they can make an appointment, come up here, peruse our closet, and pick out some professional attire for interviews or career fairs,” she said. “A lot of feedback we get from them is not having something to wear for an interview or something appropriate to wear for student teaching. We think there is a real need, and we think students will be responsive.”
Students who make an appointment to search for clothes at Tartan Threads can keep the clothes they choose, free of charge.
“Whatever fits their needs, it’s theirs,” said Kalayjian. “What was important to us was accessibility – really being there for our students.”
Along the way, Tartan Threads has inspired gifts from Target and a mini-grant from Thrivent. Students may also apply for assistance from PC’s Grace Fund, an Advancement Office initiative that supports students with non-tuition expenses, if they cannot find what they need in the career closet.
Corporate or individual donors of items may contact Amy Kalayjian at 864-833-8380 or [email protected].