It was an unseasonably warm February evening as students lined up outside the JCPenney at Four Seasons Town Centre, eagerly waiting for the doors to open for the Bryan School’s inaugural Suit Up event. By the time the event ended at 9:30 pm, 316 students had entered to shop for deeply-discounted professional wear. Many were buying their first suit. Sixty-seven students received free suits and accessories, thanks to the generous support of donors.
“I need a suit for my future profession and for what I’m doing now, which is trying to find an internship,” said junior Andre Hedgepeth. “I thought this was a great opportunity.” He plans to wear his suit for the first time at the UNCG Spring Career Fair.
The Bryan School is only the second school in the nation to co-host a professional dress event with JCPenney, thanks to a relationship that Manager of Career and Professional Development Lizzy Tahsuda established with the company while working at the University of Oklahoma. The store provided major discounts (averaging 70% off) on professional wear, while the Bryan School provided promotional support and volunteers for the event.
“Suit Up was a fantastic opportunity for students who may otherwise not be able to afford business professional attire. Owning a new suit to wear to networking events, career fairs, and interviews increases a student’s confidence when speaking with employers, and allows them to focus on their skills and experience rather than what they are wearing. We are grateful for our partnership with JCPenney and so appreciative of our donors as they are an integral part of the success of this event,” said Tahsuda.
By Casey Fletcher, Bryan School of Business and Economics