BGSU graduate student helps fellow Falcons dress for success at Mr. Agne’s Career Collection

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – A Bowling Green State University graduate student is helping fellow Falcons dress for success by connecting them with free professional attire through Mr. Agne’s Career Collection located in Eppler South.

Opened in 2020, Mr. Agne’s Career Collection provides gently-used clothing to BGSU students and recent alumni through the generous donations of those in the community. The idea for the collection was inspired by alumnus Paul Agne ‘55, who recalled his challenges in completing his degree and starting a professional teaching career.

After starting as a graduate assistant for the collection, Tiffany Eckert ’23 wanted to drum-up even more support, so she posted a request for donations on her social media accounts, generating a tremendous response.

Eckert, pursuing a master’s degree in public administration, then spent several hours driving around the region collecting those donations to increase the inventory and options available for BGSU students.

“I like to go above and beyond in everything I do,” she said. “It’s such a blessing to receive these clothes and know the story of the person who used to wear them. When I help students dress for success and watch them walk out the door with those items, it’s 100 times more special because I know the personal connection to the clothing.”

Eckert is a gold star wife who earned a bachelor’s degree from BGSU in 2023, keeping her promise to her late husband, U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. Andy Eckert, to get a college degree.

‘It takes a village’

Housed at Eppler South 117, Mr. Agne’s Career Collection is curated with gently used clothing, shoes and accessories ideal for students to wear to job fairs, interviews or to begin their careers.

The store is staffed by students in the University’s fashion merchandising and product development program, providing them with relevant career experience managing inventory, styling students and organizing displays.

Although Agne died mere weeks before the career collection opened, he was instrumental in the vision, made a reality by Dr. Dawn Shinew, dean of the College of Education and Human Development, and Dr. Mariana Mitova, a teaching professor in the fashion program.

“When students look and feel professional, it gives them a boost of confidence as they head into an interview or job fair,” Mitova said. “We’re happy to provide this free resource to students and help relieve that financial burden. It takes a village, and we really embody that with this project.”

Increasing inventory

Mitova said the career collection served about 300 students last year, and the store’s traffic continues to increase each semester. She noted that although the current policy is for students to receive one complete outfit per academic year, they aren’t required to acquire it in one visit.

“They can come in and get a jacket and then come back another time for other pieces to build their career wardrobe,” she said. “We encourage people to keep stopping in.”

Eckert hopes that with her continued outreach, she’ll be able to build enough inventory to increase the number of outfits students can have per year.

Although picking up clothing donations isn’t part of her job description, Eckert said she enjoys connecting with those supporting the cause.

“It has been really special,” she said. “It’s hard to get rid of your loved one's items. Every person and every thing has a story. I just love knowing the story and seeing it go on its way with someone else.”

Donations of professional clothing are accepted at the office of the Dean of the College of Education and Human Development or at 118 Eppler Center.

Updated: 12/15/2023 11:11AM