Rio Closet opens doors

Sporting a new red dress suit, complete with scarf and heels, Justine Baker beamed from ear to ear. Her shopping excursion was a success.

Better yet, it was compliments of the house thanks to the newest addition to campus life at Rio Grande: the Rio Closet.

“I really feel that we’re making a difference here, and the students just think it’s awesome,” said Marlene Childers, Director of Health Services and coordinator of Rio Closet. “I think the word is really spreading and we’re getting more and more students every day.”

Rio Closet opened within the Rhodes Student Center on March 28 with the goal of helping students dress for success. Through donations, material and monetary, Rio Closet offers any Rio student access to clothing – professional and winter attire – and personal hygiene items at no charge.

Dean of Students Aaron Quinn devised the idea during a meeting with the Student Development Committee. With students of all economic backgrounds from numerous states and foreign countries, many with dramatically different climates, the need was obvious.

“The Rio Grande experience is about much more than just the education gained within the classroom; we take a holistic approach with all avenues to learning,” Quinn said. “Within the Student Services Department we place an emphasis on creating well-rounded students best equipped for success after graduation.”

Whether that means having a quality coat for those cold winter days or the proper attire for an internship interview, Rio Closet hopes to provide those resources.

Material and monetary donations can be made through the Rio One-Stop in Florence Evans Hall. For check donations, please include charity ID# TZR-3302 in the memo line. For more information, contact Childers at or 740-245-7389.

“The response from faculty and staff has been just tremendous; they’ve just been great with donations,” Childers said. “It seems like almost every day I’m getting something in. I’m enjoying working with it. It’s kind of like I’ve got my own little boutique.”

Private industry donations also have come in to Rio Closet. Childers said Cato, a women’s fashion clothing and accessories store in Ironton, made a donation of “probably 20 pairs of pants, 20 sweaters, 15 pairs of shoes, hosiery and even jewelry; Cato was very good to us.”

Rio Closet is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Rhodes Student Center across from Health Services.