Dress for Success Program Provides Free Professional Preparation, Attire

Colgate University Career Services completed its Dress for Success program on Feb. 14, a partnered initiative from the Men of Color Success Network, First@Colgate and Career Services to increase student engagement with opportunities that further their personal, professional and leadership development. Upon completion of the program, participating students earned a free suit.

“The event allowed me to learn and grow professionally from each of the events that I attended,” sophomore and program participant Isaiah Curven said. “There were a variety of events — from resume building to LinkedIn networking — but each of them gave me a new method to improve my professional standing.”

The program, which took approximately a month and a half to complete, was open to any student who completed the intent to participate form. To earn the suit, however, they were highly encouraged to get their resumes certified by Career Services. Additionally, participating students were required to attend at least five professional, educational or service programs sponsored by the three organizations that coordinated the Dress for Success program. 27 students successfully completed the program and earned their suits. 

After attending the required programs, participants completed a brief reflection form that invited them to consider how each event contributed to their professional and personal development. Dean of Students Dorsey Spencer, who coordinated the program, believes that the program successfully encouraged students to think about their professional goals in alignment with self-growth.

“A diverse group of students signed up and completed the program,” Spencer said, “[and] after reading the reflections and [having] some conversations with the students who completed the program, yes, I do think the program accomplished its goals.”

Sophomore Mikayla Cairns participated in the program and appreciates how the program reached out to a diverse group of students in pursuit of their professional objectives.

“As far as the goal for this program, I gathered that it was to help prepare students within First@Colgate and the Men of Color Success Network for pursuing internships and other career opportunities,” Cairns said. 

In addition to providing exposure to the professional world, students appreciated receiving free professional clothing upon completion of the program, as it eased the burden of investing in such items in the future.

Curven detailed his experience with the Dress for Success program.

“It was fun; I learned a lot of stuff and I really appreciate the fact I now have a nice suit for any occasion,” Curven said.

Cairns agreed, also expressing her gratitude for the program. 

Suits aren’t cheap, so now I don’t have to worry about having something to wear once I begin interviewing for post-grad jobs,” Cairns said. “The suit I am getting from this program means that I will have a reminder of the support that the Colgate community has given me well after I graduate.”