OSKALOOSA – William Penn University has a lot of students from warmer climates that may not be prepared for winter in Iowa and Residence Life is aiming to change that with the help of the community.
According to the Director of Residence Life, Heidi Scholes, the idea came about last year when Res Life noticed an abundance of students in need of winter clothes that were caught by surprise from last year’s abnormally cold winter.
“Last winter we noticed that there were a lot of students who came from climates that are not typically as cold as Oskaloosa, Iowa gets in the wintertime and they did not have proper winter gear for a variety of reasons,” Scholes said. “Sometimes it was just that they didn’t want to spend the money on it, other times it was that they didn’t think they were going to need it and then all of a sudden it was just a really cold day and they realized that all they had was a hoodie and a pair of sneakers to wear around campus.”
It’s Residence Life’s goal to make sure students aren’t caught off-guard this year and that they are prepared for Iowa’s winter.
“We really want to be a resource for them, to enhance the student experience and keep everybody warm,” Scholes said.
To accomplish this goal Res Life established a winter clothing store and they are accepting donations for all winter attire.
“Boots, hats, gloves, coats,” she said. “People have even donated slippers, which is really cool for our students that live in the dorm rooms”
As of Nov. 1, Res Life has passed out 10 coats, five scarves, four pairs of boots, three pairs of gloves, and they are expecting to pass out much more.
“We need all of it still,” Scholes said. “There has already been snow on the ground and it’s only November. The projections are showing that this winter is going to be a cold winter, so anybody in the community who has some old coats that they’re willing to part with can donate.”
Students that have benefited from the winter clothing store are very grateful for the contributions that have been made so far.
Sophmore Corey Jackson said, “I received a coat from the winter coat drive and I gladly appreciated it so much, it keeps me warm. Thank you!”
The winter clothing store doesn’t yet have a formal name, but it is located right outside of the Resident Life office and students are able to grab a clothing item from it at any time with no charge or qualifications.
“We trust that we know our students so well that they’re not going to come in here and abuse the store by taking things that they don’t really need,” Scholes said. “Our hope is that they come in here because they really do need something. Maybe they are walking across campus one day and it’s February, the winds blowing, it’s really cold and they realize that they need a scarf, well they can just stop in here and get a scarf.”
A senior at WPU, Kelsey Hee feels that the store is going to be extremely beneficial for the students that live on campus.
“For the people who stay on campus, this is super beneficial because you have people coming from warm states who don’t come here with winter coats,” Hee said. “Like, I’m from Hawaii, so when I first came here I just had a hoodie. So if this was here my first year here it would have been a total lifesaver. The store would have saved me a ton of money and a ton of times from freezing my butt off walking to class.”
Anyone who has any winter items to donate may drop them off at the Residence Life office, located on the first floor of the Memorial Union building. Items to consider bringing are gloves, coats, boots, hats, and scarves. Scholes mentioned that students are particularly fond of the lined flannels that people have donated.