Truman’s Closet chooses first executive board

The organization hopes to do more than just lend clothes by also educating students in professional etiquette.

Truman’s Closet, launching Oct. 1, selected its first executive board.

The executive board, consisting of six students led by recently appointed Coordinator Kathleen Kowalsky, is responsible for the organization’s volunteer base, awareness sessions, fundraisers, public relations and keeping a balanced, organized budget.

“(Truman’s Closet) posed an incredible opportunity,” Co-Education Chairwoman Cara Hartwig said. “As a business major, one of my passions is professionalism and the whole concept of the business world and interviews, so I thought it was a really great opportunity to get involved in something that could help students with that and enhance their knowledge of not only how to dress professionally but how to carry themselves professionally and succeed in their future careers.”

Many of Truman’s Closet’s leaders have stressed from the start that the educational aspect of Truman’s Closet is important. The program leaders seek to expand the organization’s services beyond the lending of clothes and toward assisting students in overcoming all of the obstacles in the professional world.

“I, along with my co-chair (Cecret Matthews), do everything beyond the logistics of the suit rentals,” Hartwig said. “Truman’s Closet isn’t just about renting suits. It’s about helping students gain knowledge about how to be successful after they have that suit: how to conduct themselves in an interview, resume preparation, cover letter preparation, what pieces look good together, everything beyond that suit and making sure that they’re successful when they’re using our products.”

Hartwig said she is confident that her major in business provides her with the knowledge and experience necessary to excelling as co-chairwoman.

“As a business student, I have a lot of experience in the business world,” Hartwig said. “A lot of the things I’m involved with in the business school require professional attire and professional behavior.”

Operations Chairwoman Sarah Snow said she was drawn to the position because of the organizational and styling skills it requires.

"I liked how there were different positions for each group of students, not just business students," Snow said. "When I saw the operations chair position, I wanted to get involved. I love styling and keeping things organized, so thought it would be a nice role for me."

Her position will be critical to maintaining the organization by keeping track of rentals and donations, Snow said. Truman’s Closet is doing quite well financially so far and already has several donors.

She said she has been contacting donors from campus, Columbia, Kansas City, St. Louis and Chicago.

Snow, a textile and apparel management student, said she is excited to interact with students and get more hands-on career experience.

"In the future, I plan on opening my own organization like Truman's Closet, but of course not for only MU students, with a focus on styling," Snow said. "When you look good, you feel good. It's not all about appearance, but in this day and age, it's a big part of it."

Fundraising Chairwoman Ashton Chandler is also an apparel and textile management student who has always been drawn to fundraising and is hoping this experience will help her land a job at Dreams to Reality in Jefferson City.

“Last year for the Association of Textile and Apparel Management, I was on the fundraising committee,” Chandler said. “Throughout high school career and (involvement in) other organizations, I have always leaned towards fundraising positions. On my high school newspaper I was co-business chair.”

Her role, like Snow’s, will include coming up with creative ways to keep a steady stream of revenue coming into the organization.

“I have to do the budgeting and think of ways for us to get funds in fun, creative ways,” Chandler said. “I’m going to work on getting a fundraiser with other organizations on campus together, but it’s still in progress.”

While the specifics are still in the works, Chandler said that Truman’s Closet will be hosting a large fundraising event Thursday, Sept. 26 in the MU Student Center, during which students can participate in various events and win prizes.

Like Hartwig and Snow, Chandler said she is optimistic about the future of the growing organization.

“I would love to see us become a big organization that everyone knows about,” Chandler said. “I want incoming freshmen to know about it. I want us to be a big organization on campus because I feel it's important. Everyone needs business clothes.”

Hartwig is particularly intent on raising student awareness of Truman’s Closet and the vast number of students the organization is aimed at.

“The main thing that we’re focusing right now on is just gaining awareness,” Hartwig said. “We want to let everyone know that you don’t have to be a business major or something related to that field to get involved, and that these skills apply to all career paths.”

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