Rocky’s Closet Opens at The Village in Little Falls

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Published April 4, 2021
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The Montclarion
Students are excited about the new Rocky's Closet in The Village at Little Falls. Photo courtesy of Cindy Meneghin

After a long day of classes, Montclair State University students check their emails to see if they got an interview for their dream job or internship. Once they make it to the interview stage the next step is to look presentable, but with the little money they may have from paying for school, they need to find a place a little more affordable.

Fortunately, Montclair State has officially opened Rocky’s Closet, an initiative to help students by providing gender-neutral clothing for any students who may need it.

Rocky’s Closet came about a few years ago when several faculty members contacted the Office of the Dean of Students seeking assistance for students who needed to go on interviews and internships, but could not afford to buy the appropriate attire.

One student picks out pink pants with Rocky's help for a job interview. Photo courtesy of Cindy Meneghin

One student picks out pink pants with Rocky’s help for a job interview.
Photo courtesy of Cindy Meneghin

Suzanne Pasquino, the program associate and customer service representative of Rocky’s Closet, and Vice President of Student Development and Campus Life Dr. Karen Pennington are very excited about the new program that is available for Montclair State students.

“It was not difficult to get people interested in the idea and willing to participate,” Dr. Pennington said. “The hard part was gaining the resources required to ensure the items were clean and ready to wear.”

As dry cleaning can be expensive, Montclair State raised money to support that part of the program and were able to get donors to donate clothes they no longer needed. Rocky’s Closet is located in The Village at Little Falls and is accepting new or slightly used professional clothing, shoes and accessories for professional settings.

When a student walks into Rocky’s Closet, they will see either Pasquino or an on-staff student graduate coordinator, who will ask about their size and will proceed to look at colors and patterns the student may like. The students can then try on the new outfit and keep it for their interview or internship for as long as they want.

Dr. Pennington, the supervisor of Rocky's Closet, hopes that all families from Montclair utilize the Closet. Photo courtesy of Dr. Pennington

Dr. Karen Pennington, the supervisor of Rocky’s Closet, hopes that all families from Montclair utilize the Closet.
Photo courtesy of Dr. Karen Pennington

Rocky’s Closet is an inclusive space for all Montclair State students and welcoming to everyone, no matter their body type. Pasquino has a general understanding of junior, misses and plus sizes on clothing as well.

“I am a proud ally of the LGBTQ+ community,” Pasquino said. “My customer service is private, confidential, stigma free and Rocky’s Closet will strive to accommodate all body sizes for our students.”

Many students are excited for the new program and find it a great way to give back to the community. Anthony Chambers, a junior public relations major, thinks the concept is a great idea.

Suzanne Pasquino, Customer Service representative, says that her customer service is private, confidential, stigma free and Rocky’s Closet will strive to accommodate all body sizes for our students. John LaRosa | The Montclarion

Suzanne Pasquino, customer service representative, says that her customer service is private, confidential, stigma free and Rocky’s Closet will strive to accommodate all body sizes for students.
John LaRosa | The Montclarion

“There are many students who will be requiring more professional attire for upcoming jobs and internships,” Chambers said.

Eleny Santos, a freshman secondary education major, thinks Rocky’s Closet is a good asset.

“It is a positive resource that can help many students,” Santos said.

The clothing is donated by Montclair State faculty, staff and friends. Rocky’s Closet also accepts clothing from students who wish to donate.

“Their [the people who donated] clothes mean a lot to them,” Pasquino said. “I want to let students know that it’s just a generous donation and that many of them care about giving back to the students.”

Rocky’s Closet is an inclusive space for all Montclair State students and is welcome to everyone no matter their body type. John LaRosa | The Montclarion

Rocky’s Closet is an inclusive space for all Montclair State students and is welcome to everyone no matter their body type.
John LaRosa | The Montclarion

If a student would like to visit Rocky’s Closet they must first make an appointment with Suzanne Pasquino or a graduate coordinator.

“Particularly, I need sizes like zero to four to six,” Pasquino said. “That’s important…and plus sizes.”

Students will have many colors and sizes to choose from at Rocky's Closet. John LaRosa | The Montclarion

Students will have many colors and sizes to choose from at Rocky’s Closet.
John LaRosa | The Montclarion

Dr. Pennington told The Montclarion that she would love for Rocky’s Closet to be a place where families can come together.

“It’s also my dream to establish that as the closet becomes firmly established that it will be a place for a student’s whole family to come and get something if needed,” Pennington said. “They are part of the Montclair State community, too.”

If a student would like to donate clothes to Rocky’s Closet, they can contact Suzanne Pasquino at pasquinos@montclair.edu.

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