Clothing the Community
[by Amanda Ables, re-posted from the Spring 2019 STLR Newsletter]
UCO has always taken interest in making sure all students have all the resources needed to achieve their academic goals. Whether it’s helping students find off-campus housing, childcare or transportation, UCO has always taken pride in taking care of students.
One unique way UCO provides for students is the Community Closet, which started as a STLR-funded project. The Women’s Research and BGLTQ+ Student Center, which opened in 2016, has conducted a number of STLR-funded projects and the community closet has been one of many that continues to benefit the community. The inspiration for the closet was sparked when a large amount of clothes were being donated to The Center and were being kept in the office of the director of the Women’s Research and BGLTQ+ Student Center, Dr. Lindsey Churchill. Donations soon increased and there was a need for a bigger space. Fortunately in the summer of 2016 a bigger space was granted.
The closet was originally called They, Them, Their and was aimed toward students who were transgender and transitioning, but as time went on, some students were uncomfortable using the closet as they felt that it was outing them. So, the closet was renamed the Community Closet, and made available to everyone.
The Closet is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday, and is located right across from The Center in Thatcher Hall. The Community Closet is available to students, faculty and open to the public. You are not required to check in or sign in order to shop. The closet sees up to 20 to 30 students a day and often has families come and shop as well, since the closet also provides baby clothes. The Center also likes to provide diapers and condoms to whoever may need them.
The Community Closet is one of the many STLR-funded projects that continues to serve the community, and is now a STLR-Tagged Location.