Campus News

Cougar Closet to reopen friday with help of CSAC

Group photo of Cougar Closet members

Cougar Closet is reopening after its sudden closure last semester. | Photo courtesy of Cougar Closet

Cougar Closet is reopening its doors on Feb. 9 at the Student Services Center after its temporary closure due to “unfortunate circumstances.”

Before resuming regular hours of operation, Cougar Closet organized a spring cleaning event in partnership with the Center for Student Advocacy and Community to sort out its inventory of unwanted and unwearable clothes for donation to local organizations Houston Food Not Bombs and the Houston Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

“We’re sustainably reducing storage so we can take more donations,” said Cougar Closet President Ojonobi Emina. “We’re donating them to the homeless and the ones that are unwearable are going to recycling centers.”

Over 400 articles of clothes consumed the limited space the organization had at Student Services. Right after the fall semester ended, Cougar Closet sat down with CSAC to brainstorm ideas on how to address the overfill of clothing. Emina wholeheartedly credits the idea of the spring cleaning to CSAC.

“The spring cleaning wouldn’t have been possible without them,” Emina said. “If we didn’t have that meeting, I would have never thought of it. I want to give them their credit where it’s due.”

CSAC Director Michael Crook said that he was moved to help the organization get new racks and supply food for its events after seeing its dedication to serving the community.

“Cougar Closet is taking steps to remove barriers to personal and academic success,” Crook said. “That mission closely aligns with the mission of CSAC, so it made sense to help them out.  In a world where everyone has so much going on in their personal lives, these students are out here truly giving themselves in service to others. It’s so motivating.”

Although Emina previously said that some leadership within the organization had been slacking, she said the newly renovated executive board is exceeding expectations. 

“We’re working better by encouraging communication with one another and planning earlier,” Emina said. “It has definitely been way easier and taken a whole lot of weight off of my shoulders. Everyone is just pulling their own weight and doing what they can do, and even more than what they’re supposed to do.” 

Emina was particularly touched by how the board showed up to represent the organization at Cat’s Back. 

“It was just so beautiful to see all seven of us there meeting with people and advising people,” Emina said. “We really won the community’s heart. There’s something about Cougar Closet that brings people together, and that’s what warms my heart the most.” 

One of those seven board members includes the new secretary, corporate communications freshman Hanna Mayon-Randall.

“I love helping Cougar Closet achieve a positive image within the community,” Mayon-Randall said. “I hope to continue to fulfill this mission by doing that and more. I’m looking forward to seeing more positive faces.”

Emina also has a goal of her own as president, which is for Cougar Closet to amass a visibility akin to Cougar Cupboard.

“I really admire how big Cougar Cupboard is,” Emina said. “Before I leave my position as president, my personal goal is to make sure that everyone is aware that Cougar Closet exists. I want people to know that Cougar Closet is here to provide free clothes for any occasion. That’s basically my dream for Cougar Closet.” 

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