May 18, 2024 3:23 PM

Ruff’s Closet opens at Yavapai College for students needing professional apparel

Photo: YC President Dr. Lisa Rhine and immediate-past Student Government Association President Jamie Oltersdorf cut the ribbon on a free professional clothing shop for students

After months of dreaming, planning, collecting donations and creating a boutique-like shopping experience, the Yavapai College Student Government Association has opened a free professional clothing store for students.

Ruff’s Closet, affectionately named for YC’s Roughrider mascot, Ruff, officially opened earlier this month following a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the doorway of the space adjacent to Student Engagement and Leadership offices in Building 3 on the Prescott Campus.

Doing the honors for the ribbon cutting were YC President Dr. Lisa Rhine and former and current Student Government Association leaders. Rhine was the catalyst for the business-clothing shop, “planting the seed” in mentoring meetings with SGA leaders who noted the difficulty some students face affording professional attire for job interviews and other occasions.

“Dr. Rhine’s idea was not just about clothes, it was about confidence, about breaking barriers and about empowering students to present their best selves in a professional setting,” said Jamie Oltersdorf, former SGA President, during the grand-opening event. “The Student Government Association took this idea to heart. We saw the potential, the need, the difference it could make. What started as a small collection of business attire has grown into Ruff’s Closet – a testament to what we can achieve when we come together for a common cause.”

Rhine thanked student leaders for taking the free clothing shop idea and running with it. “Everything that exists in this world was once an idea – a thought… and today an idea is a reality. Thank you SGA for bringing it all together.”

While much of the initial clothing in Ruff’s Closet was donated by college faculty and staff, a team of student volunteers ushered the project, securing college leadership support and donations of shelving, racks, decorations, signage and other items needed to make the apparel shop appealing and inviting. A number of area businesses, including JC Penney, generously donated supplies to the closet.

Janice Soutee, YC Director of Student Engagement and Leadership, gratefully acknowledged the support of college leaders, faculty and staff, the time and effort of facilities employees and the students who  made Ruff’s Closet a reality. “Without your support the students’ initiatives and visions would not come to life,” she told the crowd on hand for the ribbon cutting. Your steadfast dedication to our students is truly everywhere we turn, and our students recognize that. And keep cleaning out your closets, because we need more stuff. Every day we have students in here already, shopping and taking and we want to keep it clean and fresh,” Soutee said.

Ruff’s closet is open from noon to 7 p.m. weekdays for student shoppers and to take donations of new, gently used and clean business clothing and shoes from everyone. Find it in Room 125A in Building 3 on the Prescott Campus. Direct questions to


Yavapai College operates six campuses and centers throughout Yavapai County and offers over 100 degrees and certificates, two baccalaureate degrees, student and community services, and cultural events and activities.

To learn more about YC, visit


Related Articles