Carleton will now provide gently used cold-weather outerwear to students free of charge. Introduced last week in an email from the Dean of Students Office, the “Winter Wardrobe” will be comprised entirely of community-donated articles.
The creation of the wardrobe comes in the wake of a particularly cold winter—popularly referred to as the Polar Vortex of 2019. Following days of sub-fifty temperatures, Carleton witnessed an outpouring of student concern about students’ ability to get to classes safely, especially those who are unable to afford quality cold-weather clothing.
“I cannot say for certain, but I believe the polar vortex may have played a role in the creation of the coat drive,” stated James Gardner ’20, Treasurer and Vice President of Mortar Board.
SAO and Mortar Board have been working closely with the Division of Student Life, helping to collect, sort, and eventually distribute winter gear to students.
Donations began Monday, October 14, and will continue through Friday, October 18. Faculty, staff and students have all been invited to donate items to the Wardrobe. Parents were also notified of the Wardrobe over email and have already sent several items to Carleton’s Student Activities Office (SAO) for donation. Acceptable donations include coats, scarves, gloves, boots, hats and earmuffs.
Collection bins are currently located in the Sayles-Hill Great Space. Students who are currently studying off-campus will be able to make use of the wardrobe when it reopens in January of Winter term.
According to Area Director and Winter Wardrobe program manager Alessa Strelecki, “The Division of Student Life has identified access to winter clothing items as something that could be beneficial to our community.”
“The winter months in Northfield are cold and long, and winter clothing can be a significant financial investment,” Strelecki said. “Our goal is to ensure that all students are warm and safe during the winter months.”
The Wardrobe is intended for students with the greatest financial need, but will be open to the entire student body. “We are confident given the culture of Carleton that the honor system will work well,” said Strelecki.
“We are excited to implement this new program for students and to learn more about the need of winter clothing on campus,” said Miiko Taylor, Assistant Director of the Student Activities office. “We’ve gotten support from Mortar Board who has helped maintain the donation area in Sayles.”
Gardner also believes the Wardrobe “has great potential to help students who need winter gear but can’t gain access to them due to circumstances beyond their control.”
The Winter Wardrobe will open on Tuesday, October 22 at 1 p.m. in Sayles-Hill room 252 and will close on Friday, October 25.