Class Project Will Collect Business Attire for the Needy

Nebraska Wesleyan University students are applying what they have learned in their “One Size Fits All” liberal arts seminar to a clothing drive that will benefit the needy.

From Monday, November 29 to Friday, December 3, first year students will hold clothing collection sites on campus. Donations of business clothes are preferred though other clothing will be accepted, said student Allyson Barnes.

The collection is a natural tie to history professor Christy Dempsey’s liberal arts seminar, “One Size Fits All.” The class explores the multi-faceted role of clothing in society from its ability to protect from the elements to its ability to bring about social conformity and disunity. In addition, students have learned about their role and need to give back and how recycling clothing plays an integral part in combatting waste in textiles.

One class assignment challenged students to put themselves in the shoes of a low-income or homeless person who needed business attire for a job interview. Students scattered to the clearance racks of nearby department and thrift stores.

“What we found was that it wasn’t easy to get a nice, business outfit for under $70,” said Barnes.

That lesson led to the idea of a clothing drive focused on professional business attire. Collection sites will be set up in Great Hall, Story Student Center, residential halls, and in the McDonald Theatre lobby during performances of A Christmas Carol. On December 8, the students will spend the day at the People’s City Mission where they will distribute the clothing.

Demsey said the project has also taught her students how to organize a project. They’ve been responsible for seeking community partners, organizing volunteers, and promoting their project.

“What started out as more of an assignment has turned into a project that we’ve all embraced,” said Barnes.

Dress for Success

During the couple of years I lived in Montana, I discovered a great non-profit called Dress for Success. I checked their website: and their isn't an affiliate in Nebraska yet. However, they focus very closely on what your class is doing, and the website might be worth checking out. Dress for Success is just for women who meet certain criteria and occasionally their children. I would love to help bring an affiliate to Omaha and/or Lincoln some day. What a great project for your class.

You should arrange an alumni

You should arrange an alumni drop-off site in Omaha, as well.

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