By Rachel James-Terry
Jackson State University’s Tiger Career Closet received two generous gifts this spring.
Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch partnered with the Mississippi Women Lawyer’s Association to sponsor a professional clothing drive during Women’s History Month. The partnership netted a multitude of women’s business attire and shoes that were donated to the Tiger Career Closet.
“The professional clothing drive for JSU students gives us an opportunity to empower the next generation of women in the workforce. The donated attire may be just what she wears when she lands the job at her interview or makes an impression her first day on the job,” said Fitch.
Executive Director of the Career Services Center Lashanda Jordan, Ph.D., expressed her gratitude for the attorney general’s benevolence. “We appreciate their efforts to partner with us and secure professional attire for our students,” she said.
The Tiger Career Closet, which opened in November 2017, allows JSU students to receive one business outfit complete with shoes and accessories free of charge per semester.
Emoni Price, a second-year graduate student, works in the career closet and has also shopped there.
“When I first started working here, back in August, I didn’t have a lot of professional business wear simply because I had lost a lot of weight. So, a lot of my clothes no longer fit me. They told me about the closet, and I was able to pick up a few things,” she said.
Keeping the spirit of giving going, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.’s Alpha Delta Zeta Chapter raised $1,200 for the Tiger Career Closet. The organization has been supporting the initiative since the closet’s inception. This year marks the sorority’s largest contribution to date.
“It’s important because we like to give back to our young people, and that money is going to go to good use. It helps prepare them for the next steps in their professional career. It’s important that we do our part to help get them to the next level,” said Latisha Skinner, president of the Alpha Delta Zeta Chapter.
Skinner explained that JSU is the organization’s home base, and it has a plethora of sisters who are alumnae of the university. “One of our focuses is to make sure we do our part, and the career closet is the way we do that,” she said.
La’Kitha Hughes is a life member of the sorority and serves as international secretary. She shared that the group is looking forward to returning to in-person volunteer work when the time comes.
“This is a wonderful project, and we want to continue giving back to the community because that’s who we are, and that’s what we’re about. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated is a community-conscious organization. We want to make sure we give back to our community right here in Jackson and help our students,” said Hughes.
Lavenita Cottrell, associate director of the Career Services Center, praised the sorority for the ongoing assistance it has given the Tiger Career Closet. “They have always been here to support us no matter what,” she said.
Cottrell shared that the monetary gift will allow them to purchase more clothing and accessories for students. “Because we realize that when some students come over, we may not have their size, so we go shopping specifically for students when we do not have anything in the closet for them. So, this helps us make sure every student is served.