IUPUI's free clothing store for students, Paw's Closet, opens Oct. 9

The Paw's Closet logo: a cartoon jaguar, wearing a hat while holding a high heel shoe and hanger.View print quality image

A survey sent out to students in spring 2018 discovered that out of 259 responses, only 47 percent of students said they have access to all necessary clothing and accessories for job interviews, and 40 percent of those students "often" or "always" felt as though finances control their lives.

Students cried for help, so Paw's Closet is here to save the day.

Paw's Closet is an on-campus resource dedicated to helping students succeed in their daily and professional lives by providing free clothing to those in need of everyday and business attire. Your first visit requires you to fill out a form, but every visit afterward requires only a CrimsonCard. Students are restricted to two visits per month, and up to four clothing items and two accessories can be taken each time. Exchanges and returns are not allowed.

To kick-start the project, the Welcoming Campus Innovation Fund, an initiative dedicated to making IUPUI a more welcoming campus, covered all initial costs. Clothes and accessories came from multiple donors, much of it from faculty, staff and students as part of the Campus Clothing Drive during Regatta week.

Paw's Closet will be dedicated and open for tours from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 3. It will be officially open for business Oct. 9. Shoppers can come by the store, located in Cavanaugh Hall Room 117, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays. As students come and go from the closet, they will be asked to complete surveys to allow feedback for how effective the system is.

Shaina Lawrence, assistant director of student advocacy and support, explained that the Closet is another way her office is connecting students to resources they need when obstacles impede their success.

"Our main goal is to help reduce one more barrier for students so they can stay in school, focus on school and get to graduation," Lawrence said.

Paw's Closet will be looking for volunteers to help during the spring semester.