St. Mary's University Combines Fashion and Philanthropy to Prepare Students for Success

St. Mary's University Combines Fashion and Philanthropy to Prepare Students for SuccessSource: St. Mary's University website
John Martins
Published on November 30, 2023

St. Mary’s University students aim to look the part as they stride towards their professional dreams. In a savvy move blending altruism with academia, the university now offers access to free professional attire through the Rattler Wardrobe at the Greehey School of Business, a project that found its roots last fall and has been sharply dressing scholars ever since. According to KSAT, everything from jackets to jewels is up for grabs in this fashion-forward initiative.

Behind the wardrobe's door lies a tale of need and response, embodied by the university's compassionate business school work study supervisor, Lisa Ann Garcia. Recognizing dramatically the plight of ill-equipped students, Garcia was sometimes seen bringing her own clothing stash to clad those unprepared for business-themed university events. "A lot of the students didn’t have professional wear to our events. So, to the event they would have to wear business attire, and they didn’t have that," she told KSAT, poignantly illustrating the gap she sought to fill.

Indeed, the endeavor is more than a free shop; it's a helping hand to those such as Alejandra Canamar, a senior Accounting major from Edinburg who, before the Rattler Wardrobe swung open its doors, found herself short on both time and funds to dress for success. Now, with a treasure trove at her fingertips, she stands ready to conquering the professional arena. "It was an out-of-the-ordinary idea, but it’s something that, at least for me, was beneficial," Canamar admitted with relieved enthusiasm in a St. Mary's publication.

Wielding the transformative power of a well-fitted suit, the Rattler Wardrobe, as Garcia envisioned it, isn't just serving fashion; it's sewing confidence into the very fabric of the students' future. "I’m here because I love to help the students and see them grow," Garcia shared, outfitted solely in her passion for the students' success, with St. Mary's University. Her mission extends beyond the individual, reaching for a collective uplift rooted in a community that nurtures both mind and appearance.

With the wardrobe door swung wide, applause for the project’s triumph echoes through the hallowed university halls. In tandem, the broader university ecosystem steps up, synergizing efforts to mitigate garment scarcity campus-wide. Stephanie Ward, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Vocation and Career Services, signaled an affirmation of this commitment, citing the congruence with the University's Catholic and Marianist mission. "How can we partner and help each other with these initiatives so that we can reach even more students? Those conversations are happening, and I’m excited about how it comes together," Ward said, already planning ahead with a clothing drive set to run from mid-October to the end of January 2024, announced in a university statement.