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vnccom@rit.edu (Vienna McGrain)
Wednesday, April 25, 2018 - 2:59pm
Saunders College helps raise awareness for Dress for Success at Imagine RIT festival

RIT's Saunders College of Business is partnering with local nonprofit Dress for Success Rochester to make the Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival even more memorable for young visitors who have their sights set on becoming engineers, lawyers, CEOs or even world leaders.

During the festival, young girls will be able to don professional business attire, explore how dressing for a business environment makes them feel and learn how to present themselves in an interview or workplace. Kids can also pose for pictures in a photo booth and take home a souvenir. Over the past few weeks, exhibit organizers have collected gently used suits, pants, blazers, blouses, dresses, skirts, close-toed shoes, handbags and accessories. When the festival ends, the clothing will be donated to Dress for Success Rochester.

According to their website, Dress for Success Rochester provides economically disadvantaged clients with professional attire to help secure employment, and offers programs such as confidence building, strategies for job retention and skill development, with the goal of moving women toward sustainable careers and financial independence.

Exhibit coordinators are Loralyn Callé Simmons, business analyst for RIT's Student Auxiliary Services and business management major graduating in May; Kevin Mejia, a third-year management and global studies double major from Yonkers, N.Y., and a Saunders College of Business advocate for RIT's Multicultural Center for Academic Success; and Kelly Tan, a third-year business management major from New York, N.Y. The idea was launched in the team's Project Management class.

"I have seen and experienced, firsthand, how the proper clothing can make you feel," said Simmons. "If you feel comfortable and confident in your appearance, that can translate into your performance. And first impressions are everything when interviewing for a job. When you are struggling financially, buying professional attire can be difficult. However, it does not have to be daunting or expensive. There is always a first step to any journey, and this step to professional success is 'looking the part.' Many people may take that for granted, but having been on both sides of the interview desk, I know how something that seems so simple can mean so much."

Simmons also believes that the "dress-up" part of their exhibit is extremely meaningful.

"We want to show young women that they can be strong and independent, sensitive and artistic, structured and methodical. And of course, people can be a combination of all of those things," added Simmons. "And how you dress is often an interpretation of how you feel and who you are," she added.

The Dress for Success exhibit will be located in Lowenthal Hall.