CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Members of Penn State Lehigh Valley’s Business Society recently took it upon themselves to make a meaningful contribution to an area initiative serving women looking to get back into the workplace.
PSU-LV senior and Business Society Secretary Victoria Stopper recently spearheaded a women’s clothing drive for The Perfect Fit for Working Women, a program of the YWCA Allentown that provides a week’s worth of professional clothing to women who may not have the financial means to purchase new items for job interviews or their first week of work.
Promoted across the campus community, the clothing drive ran Feb. 7-25. Stopper has done one drop-off already and expects to do another, given the impressive response from students, faculty and staff.
“The entire trunk of my car was full,” Stopper said. “They were so grateful. I didn’t think the clothing drive would get as big as it did.”
“I’m proud of the Business Society for taking on this service project,” said Assistant Director of Student Affairs Pam Fleck. “Not only will it help local women in need, but it also allows for a focus on sustainability as donors are able to re-purpose their clothing for others. This year, we charged each student club with taking on a sustainability project, and the Business Society has met this goal with this community outreach drive.”
Stopper first became aware of The Perfect Fit when she was taking a course taught by Assistant Teaching Professor of Business and Director of Business Programs Maung Min.
“We had to research a nonprofit organization in the Lehigh Valley and analyze the company’s marketing strategy,” Stopper said. “I chose The Perfect Fit. I’d never heard of them before, but it sounded like a really interesting organization.”
After touring The Perfect Fit’s space and getting to know some of the staff, Stopper was so inspired by its mission and commitment to helping women that she decided to hold the drive.
Professor of Marketing Denise Ogden, who serves as the Business Society’s advisor, said that in addition to benefiting a local nonprofit, the clothing drive aligned with sustainability development goals (SDGs) designed by the United Nations to build a better world.
“Pam Fleck wanted the clubs to get involved with SDGs, and one of the goals is to help women and lift people out of poverty,” Ogden said. “She wanted the clubs to focus on some aspects of the SDGs, and this was our way to contribute to that.”
The Perfect Fit works on a referral basis, personal shopping trips are made by appointment, and all services are confidential. Ogden said the program is not only important for women looking to get back into the workforce, but also for college students who may have limited financial resources to buy clothing for job or internship interviews.
“I’m a first-generation college student, and as a senior, I didn’t have the clothing to wear for a presentation. If there was something like The Perfect Fit in my day, that would’ve been ideal,” Ogden said. “I also didn’t know how to dress or put outfits together. That’s not something you usually tell your professor. An organization who can help people with that is a benefit to the community.”
Stopper hopes the Business Society will continue the clothing drive as an annual community outreach initiative.
“I’m graduating in May, but I want to get the president of our society in contact with The Perfect Fit,” Stopper said. “I think it’s a great organization.”