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Suit Up for Success puts recycled business clothes to good use

By Antoinette Mercurio

Suit Up for Success

Suit Up for Success is a new initiative that gives students access to free interview-style clothes, donated by the Ryerson community.

First-year arts and contemporary studies student Rudhra Persad wants his peers to suit up for success.

Suit Up for Success (SUFS) is a volunteer-driven initiative to help students get access to appropriate clothing for their job interviews. Persad discovered the program on Twitter and it’s modeled after Centennial College’s program of providing students with a valid university ID card the opportunity to get free interview clothes. Persad immediately latched onto the idea and contacted Tri-Mentoring to get the initiative underway. Community members are invited to the official launch of Suit Up for Success Feb. 6 in the Arts Commons lounge (POD-349) from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Persad has also partnered with the Ted Rogers School of Management Career Centre to offer interview workshops as part of SUFS.

“I really believe in this idea because sometimes people have the skills and answers but don’t have the clothes,” Persad said. “And the workshops help prepare students for the interviews. Everyone will see the value in this for our students and how it can be beneficial to the Ryerson community.”

Persad co-organized and started SUFS with third-year criminal justice student Shauna Busjith Brown. They received support from a student project grant from the Faculty of Arts. They are currently accepting donations and will try to do personalized pick-ups as much as they can. “Nothing gets wasted. There's always something that can be used,” Persad said. Anyone who wants to donate business attire or get more information about SUFS can contact Persad by email

Accessibility and equity are two factors that make SUFS successful, says Persad. Donations can be made at any time throughout the year but students can choose clothing only at scheduled events – the first tentatively planned for March – so that everyone has equal access to the clothing. Look out in Ryerson Today for more information once it becomes available.

Student leaders are needed for other tasks such as creating databases, marketing, app development and bookkeeping.

“A really valuable way of doing this is having students involved,” Persad said. “I learned at the Live2Lead Conference that it’s not just about what you can do but how you can empower your community. There are lots of opportunities for students to get involved so if you’re passionate and committed, let’s have a conversation.”

Persad can appreciate the advantages of Suit Up for Success. He applied to Ryerson as a mature student via the Spanning the Gaps program after working in the social service industry for the past seven years. He was an employment counsellor at WoodGreen Community Services before becoming a work transitions co-ordinator at Pathways to Education.