Arkansas State University - Newport

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February 2015

Students Entering Workforce to Benefit From ‘Becky’s Closet’ at ASU-Newport

NEWPORT, Ark. (2/10/2015) — Thanks to the generosity and efforts of individuals from Arkansas State University-Newport and Jackson County, “Becky’s Closet” is a resource now available to ASU-Newport students who are soon to be entering the workforce.

The closet, named in memory of long-time ASU-Newport Business Instructor Becky Landreth, supplies business attire, shoes and other clothing to students who have scheduled job interviews, but may not have the resources to purchase the appropriate clothes needed to help them make the best possible first impression.

Landreth, one of the original instructors at ASU-Newport, began at the college in 1975 when it was founded as White River Vocational Technical School. Landreth was a fixture at the college for over 30 years until she passed away in 2007. Her husband Bill established the fund that helped make Becky’s Closet possible.

“Becky was probably more professional in her dress than most people,” said Bill Landreth. “And there are so many kids that don’t have the money to dress properly for a job interview. One of the things that we wanted to do was give them a place to go where they could get clothes, or the money to buy clothes that were good enough for them to wear. Some of the students just need a little bit of help, and we wanted to help them.”

Efforts to set up and organize the closet have been spearheaded at ASU-Newport for several years by Janna Ellis, Assistant Professor of Business.   In 2014, Psychology Instructor Susan Cooper and Martha Shull, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, joined in the efforts and helped make the closet a reality in 2015.

“A few months ago, Dr. Shull came to me and told me that Susan had brought the proposal to her,” said Ellis. “It was approved, we got a few more donations, and shortly after Christmas, we set it up. We have several sets of clothes, mostly business interview or work attire, but we even have scrubs because we have nursing students on all three campuses. These clothes are for any ASUN student on any of our campuses. All they have to do is come see me.”

Ellis said that most of the inventory consists of women’s clothing. While the closet is in need of any business-type clothing donations, men’s clothing and shoes are currently in short supply.

“Everything in the closet is sorted according to sizes and whether it is for men or women,” added Ellis. “We have had several donations from the community, and anyone wishing to donate can just bring it to me. We don’t have any shoes yet, but we are set up and ready for students to come in and get an outfit. If a student needs shoes as well, we have funding available to help with that.”

Ellis is the ASUN chapter advisor for Phi Beta Lambda, an education association with a quarter-million students worldwide who are preparing for careers in business and business-related fields. ASU-Newport’s Phi Beta Lambda chapter maintains and organizes the closet and has clothing available for students on ASU-Newport’s campus locations in Newport, Marked Tree and Jonesboro.

To donate clothing or funds for Becky’s Closet, contact Ellis at janna_ellis@asun.edu or by phone at 870-512-7816.