Sustainable fashion for brighter futures

In April 2023, Student Opportunity proudly became an academic signatory of the Sustainable Recruitment Alliance, joining the movement as part of the University of Warwick’s journey to become more sustainable and to support employer partners with their own sustainable recruitment activity.

Employer Connect are the employer relations team within Student Opportunity, working with employers from graduate recruiters, SMEs and not for profit organisations, to global multinationals across all business sectors. They host events and welcome early careers teams to campus year-round, and upon the return to in-person events post-pandemic, took the opportunity to reflect on their practices and introduce more sustainable behaviours and features to their programme.

Making Changes

Employer Connect introduced credit card sized event micro-guides to replace printed booklets and flyers, and re-useable wristbands replaced single-use lunch tokens. The team used QR codes for student registration and green-accredited event venues for key events, and encouraged employer representatives to bring reusable water bottles, all of which contributed to their strategy of becoming more sustainable.

Whilst these changes had an impact,  their aim was to engage and collaborate with the student community and other university departments to bring them on this journey too.


Workwear Wardrobe

In October 2023, Employer Connect launched the Workwear Wardrobe, a sustainable pop-up wardrobe to provide students with free pre-loved workwear in preparation for their interviews, work experiences and ultimately their future careers with employer partners.

To date, the Workwear Wardrobe has featured at two careers fairs with over 230kg of workwear being personally donated by university staff and local employers. Donation points have been set up across the campus and employers have generously organised their own office collections, recognising the importance of reducing clothing waste and building a more sustainable and equitable future.

Student Engagement

Whilst the behind-the-scenes work is coordinated by  Employer Connect, a team of dedicated and sustainability focused students from Warwick Volunteers prepare the donations and run the pop-up on the day.

Izabela, Life Sciences student got involved as she liked the idea of working on a project that not only promoted sustainability, but also saved students money during a cost-of-living crisis”.

Neeraj, Business & Finance student, felt that “significant emphasis is placed on professional attire for the workplace” and that the initiative is a “highly thoughtful endeavour”.

Speaking to their peers, Izabela found that “The concept was very popular among students. Everyone we spoke to understood the importance of promoting sustainability and were eager to play their part in reducing the number of clothes which end up in landfills. Students also appreciated how being sustainable could save them money” and Neeraj can “vividly recall my first volunteering experience with the program, where the response was overwhelmingly positive. The stock of clothing was depleted within a few hours, a testament to the event’s resounding success. Most of my peers were amazed by this innovative concept and expressed a keen interest in learning more about it”.

As the project has grown, Employer Connect has worked more closely with the University’s Sustainability team to ensure their work aligns with wider university sustainability initiatives and brought on board other departments including Warwick Business School, Estates, and Warwick Conferences, with whom they are exploring the feasibility of upcycling business uniforms.


Widening Participation

For the 24/25 academic year, plans include featuring the initiative at key events once again whilst also opening a walk-in wardrobe for students to access year-round in line with their needs.

Clothing stock is, however, fundamental to the success of this project and the greatest challenge is that of gathering donations. If you would like to contribute and get involved with the Workwear Wardrobe, please do get in touch.

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