The Signal

Serving the College since 1885

Friday April 19th

The College’s volunteers at The Shop advocate for more awareness

<p>The Shop at TCNJ opened in February 2019 to help low-income students receive food free of charge. (Photo courtesy of @theshop_tcnj/<a href="" target="">Instagram</a>)</p>

The Shop at TCNJ opened in February 2019 to help low-income students receive food free of charge. (Photo courtesy of @theshop_tcnj/Instagram)

By Chiara Piacentini
Staff Writer

The Shop at TCNJ, located on the north side of building 700 on Campus Town Drive, opened in February 2019 to help low-income students receive food free of charge to alleviate the expensive costs of college life. There’s only one problem — nobody knows about it. 

Yaa Ampofowaa Awuah, a volunteer at The Shop, explains that out of her two hour work day, only one or two customers enter the store. Shelves upon shelves of canned goods, cereal and rice are left sitting untouched. This does not take into account the freezer filled with meat, pre-made meals and water.

“[I] feel there could be more ways to promote [The Shop],” said Awuah. 

Awuah suggests that the College could configure an email account for The Shop so that the store can send out information about their shop to students. She also recommends that they create flyers to hang around campus to bring awareness to their presence to the campus community. 

“[Our] mission is to reduce food disparity,” but this cannot happen without awareness, said Bintou Fofana, a volunteer at The Shop. 

On that note, The Shop is also accepting all proceeds from the clothing sale at the Dress for Success event hosted by the School of Education. This function has been created to allow students to buy professional clothing for interviews at a reduced cost. The event is scheduled to occur on April 25 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and April 27 from noon to 2 p.m. in the Education Building room 115. Each article of clothing will be sold at just $2 a piece. A collection for professional clothes will be held in Ed 202 from March 20 to April 20. 

“We started [this event] recognizing that there are a lot of hidden fees with becoming a teacher,” said Dr. Maureen Connolly, an associate education professor at the College. “In addition to tuition, gas money, exams and certification…building a wardrobe takes some money too.” 

In fact, a typical interview outfit can cost anywhere between $50 to $100 at retail price. However, at the Dress for Success event, you can buy a suit for just six bucks. In addition to this huge discount, the School of Education receives tons of clothes that are still brand new. 

Carla Woodward, an assistant to the Director of the Support for Teachers Education Program, said that Covid-19 contributed to a substantial number of unused clothes that were received at last year’s event — over $1,000 in donations were made to The Shop. 

“That’s over 500 items sold,” Connelly said.

Along with the economical benefits for students, there is also a focus on promoting sustainability in the fashion industry. 

“One thing I want students to understand [is] not only the economic side of this…but also the ecological side,” Connelly said. “Yes, you’re saving money but you’re also keeping clothing out of landfills.”

The School of Education plans to hold the Dress for Success event multiple times per year

in the future. This would allow students to prepare their professional attire prior to interviews for both fall and spring internships instead of just fall internships alone. 

To learn more about this event, you can email Connelly at Plus, any student is welcome to visit The Shop to take food. It’s open every day of the week. For more details on store hours, follow their Instagram page, @theshop__tcnj


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