Newly launched Encore initiative helps students dress for success

The Department of Career Development offers many vital services to students: resume and cover letter building, interest exploration, job and internship search help and now an additional resource; the department has launched its first-ever Career Closet called Encore. College students often do not bring many business-appropriate clothes with them to school as they generally have little-to-no need for them and wish to consolidate when packing for the year. In situations where students find themselves in need of professional attire, the purchase of an entire expensive outfit specifically for one occasion seems superfluous. Attempting to remedy this issue, the department implemented Encore this semester.

This exciting adjunct serves as a clothes-loan facility for any student in need of an appropriate outfit for a professional affair such as an interview, networking event or award ceremony. “We want to prepare students not only mentally but also give them an awareness of professional physical appearance to further encourage their success,” career counselor Heather DiFino said. “This concept was brainstormed out of the idea that we want students to feel prepared in every way possible.”

Located in the office of the Department of Career Development, Encore is comprised of both male and female apparel sections, each with clothes ranging from business casual to professional. Some shoes are also available. Students may borrow up to one full outfit for a 14-day time frame. Encore is open Mondays and Wednesdays from 1-3:30 p.m, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and Fridays by appointment. During these office hours, mentors are there to help students choose clothes appropriate for their specific needs.

The clothes Encore has are largely comprised from donations from faculty and staff, collected for this particular venture during this past spring and summer. Encore is still accepting donations this semester, however. Two mannequins––“Kyle and Kelly Knight”––are currently displaying two available outfits in the closet and they will be making regular appearances around campus showcasing Encore clothing.

DiFino reflected on the work and care that contributed to the closet’s creation. “I did a lot of research for about a year looking into what other schools offered to help students with interviews and such, and I found many other schools have career closet type resources in place,” she said.

The introduction of Encore into the Geneseo student community is a terrific addition to the helpful services the Department of Career Development already possesses. Students can now feel comfortable that they can receive preparation assistance for professional junctures regarding their appearance, as well as their outlook and approach.

“We never want students to feel hindered in their success simply because they do not have a suitable outfit,” DiFino said. “Our goal is to limit obstacles and help students feel confident in their ventures.”