“Used Professional Clothes for New Professional People”
The idea behind BC’s Closet originated during the Winter 2011 quarter when Joy DesMarais-Lanz, MSB-BC’s former Business Program Chair, first brought the idea to Ann Deiman-Thornton, Dean of Faculty. Joy saw a strong need among the BC students for professional clothing for job interviews, and she wanted to do something to help. Her idea was to start a student centered non-profit organization on campus that would provide students from multiple classes with service-learning project opportunities, create work experience for students who joined the board, as well as fulfill the need for those students who would be seeking professional clothing.
Joy joined forces with Michelle Barsness, Service-Learning Coordinator and Communications and Community Relations Specialist, to put the project into motion. Eighteen classes at the campus were identified as ones that could do a service-learning project to assist the up and coming non-profit. Some of the projects included creating a business plan, developing a database for tracking inventory and donors, assisting with legal documents, and running clothing drives. In addition to the eighteen classes from Brooklyn Center, a graphic design class at the Richfield Campus also participated by creating a logo for the organization.
In March 2012, Joy left MSB to pursue a job with the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Organization (HOBY) as the Director of Alumni Relations. Alex Erolin stepped in as the new Business Chair and worked with Michelle to continue the organization’s progress. Five students from the campus have also been working with Alex and Michelle to get the store to the point of opening: James Clark and Chris Degidio, Marketing Coordinators; Darren Donnelson, Donations Coordinator; and Rico Miles and Elizabeth Kohler; Store Coordinators. These five students have worked very hard to inventory over 800 items of clothing and accessories, and they cannot wait to see fellow students benefiting from what the closet has to offer.
On Monday, August 6, all of the hard work done by the students and staff was recognized during a grand opening ceremony. To begin, Jana Gymer-Koch, Campus Director, and Ann Deiman-Thornton, Dean of Faculty, addressed students and staff. James Clark followed by sharing his involvement since the beginning of the project in Spring 2011; he expressed his gratitude to all of those who have assisted in following through with Joy’s original vision. The five student coordinators, Michelle, and Alex cut a ribbon to symbolize the opening of the store. Following this, all who were present enjoyed appetizers and cake.
A special thank you to Mindy Myhre and Su Mago for attending. Mindy handles GEN’s Community Service and Charitable Giving, and Su is a Regional Director.
The store is now open for use! Thank you to all students, faculty, and staff that have helped to make this a reality!
- If you are a Brooklyn Center student interested in utilizing BC’s Closet, please call the front desk for more information (763-566-7777). All students are entitled to one free outfit; additional clothing items may be obtained by purchasing them at very reasonable prices.
- If you are a Brooklyn Center student interested in volunteering with BC’s Closet, please contact Michelle Barsness or Alex Erolin at 763-566-7777.
- If you are interested in donating clothing items or monetary contributions to BC’s Closet, please contact Michelle Barsness or Alex Erolin at 763-566-7777. Our 501(c)3 application is currently in progress. Individuals may donate on a personal level or hold a clothing drive at their business.