USF prepares to suit up students for jobs
After years of moving around campus, the Suit-A-Bull program may have finally found a home that is just the right fit.
For more than eight years, the Suit-A-Bull program led by the USF chapter of Enactus has loaned students suits for professional engagements that could lead to their first job or job interview.
At a small gathering of university employees and administration on Wednesday, the new permanent home of Suit-A-Bull, located on the second floor of the Student Services Building and down the hall from Career Services, was unveiled and featured a store-front look and changing rooms that appeared closer to a Men’s Wearhouse than the desk space for Testing Services that used to occupy the space months before.
However, the transformation was far from seamless, as Enactus President Kenny Lynch said he remembers pushing racks of donated suits across campus and out of storage units and even temporarily storing the suits in the garage of USF President Judy Genshaft before partnering with Career Services for the new location.
“Now that we have this space, we’re planning to expand Suit-A-Bull’s operation,” Lynch said. “Normally it was on an appointment basis where students had to contact us 72 hours in advance, set up an appointment, then come in to look at what we had.”
Suit-A-Bull started when a member of Enactus heard that recruiters at career fairs voted USF as one of the more underdressed colleges. Through a group of Enactus students, suits were collected and lent out to students, with each student trading a photo ID for a suit during the time the suit was needed for an interview.
Until 2013, the Suit-A-Bull program was staffed by volunteers in a room on the second floor of the USF Bookstore. However, once the renovations started in the Bookstore, the suits had to be pushed out.
In the interim, after moving from a brief storage locker off campus, the suits found a temporary home in Genshaft’s garage for almost a year. Though members of Enactus said the program was not well-known on campus and had few resources, it makes an important impact for students.
“We want students to feel confident and the ultimate end goal is to land an interview and get the job,” said Angie Osborn, Enactus vice president for marketing at USF.
The most significant events for Suit-A-Bull are the career fairs, sponsored by Career Services every semester in the Marshall Student Center. During one career fair, Lynch said Suit-A-Bull can help about 100 students borrow suits to meet potential employers. Before the move in the fall of 2013, he said one career fair had about 300 students asking for suits.
“Now that we have this permanent home, we will be open on a consistent basis, a set amount of hours, at any time students can walk in and look at what we have,” Lynch said.
In addition to finalizing what those hours will be and what volunteers will staff the program, Assistant Vice President of Career Services Russ Coughenour said there is still some preparation that needs to be done before the program’s full opening during this fall’s Week of Welcome.
Though the new venue for Suit-A-Bull has suits on the walls, many of the racks remain half-empty. To remedy this, Coughenour issued a challenge to the deans and vice presidents of USF, asking each administrator’s office to assist in collecting suits to fill the walls of the new shop.
Coughenour said there was a larger need for ties to go with the suits as well as professional attire for women, and all donated clothing should be conservative in nature, emphasizing quality over quantity.
In upcoming weeks, administrators’ offices will have a collection box for donations, and the office with the most donations will be announced at the annual Career Services Cookout event in September. In future years, Coughenour hopes to take the challenge to local companies to collect suits to sustain the program.
For more information on donating to Suit-A-Bull or volunteering, visit enactususf.wordpress.com/suit-a-bull.