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Students Dress for Success with Sebastian’s Closet

By Renee Reneau
UM News

Sebastian's Closet

Senior Miles Holmes turned to Sebastian’s Closet to rent the suit he needed for a job interview and Peace Corps networking event.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 7, 2016) — Clothes don’t make the man or woman. But they can make the job candidate. And with the interview season upon us, the University of Miami’s Toppel Career Center is supporting students in all aspects of career preparation—right down to the threads they wear.

Sebastian’s Closet began as a Student Government initiative in 2015, renting professional clothes for free to degree-seeking students at UM (with the exception of M.B.A., M.D., and law students).

Clothing from Sebastian’s Closet can be rented for various purposes such as Greek events, class presentations, career fairs, and interviews. A wide variety of apparel, including suits and shirts for women and men, is available in just about every size.

“I’m 6’6” so the fact that they had something that fits me was impressive,” said Miles Holmes, a senior majoring in Spanish, who has used Sebastian’s Closet three times since it opened.

“I heard about it through Toppel’s newsletter, and I didn’t have a suit at the time,” said Holmes. “I used the suit I rented for a Peace Corps networking event and an informal interview with Protis Global in Miami.”

The physical experience of wearing clothes affects more than just one’s confidence. According to a 2015 joint study by Columbia University and California State University, professional dress is associated with enhanced conceptual processing.

“I felt confident and appropriately dressed,” said Holmes. “If I hadn’t had that suit, I wouldn’t have gone to any of the networking events.”

Holmes will enroll at Cornell University in the fall to pursue a master’s degree in industrial and labor relations.

Since Sebastian’s Closet opened in September 2015, almost 100 student requests have been filled. Freshman Harrison Kudwitt was one of the first.

“When I bid for Alpha Epsilon Pi, I didn’t know I would need a jacket, so I used Sebastian’s Closet,” said Kudwitt. “It saved me money and stress. It was so quick and easy that a week later my roommate used it.”

Sebastian’s Closet requests can be submitted through the Toppel Career Center website. Students will receive a response within five business days, usually sooner.

Clothing from Sebastian’s Closet is rented at no cost to students. One can even return items unwashed, thanks to a partnership between Toppel and Liberty Cleaners and Laundry on campus.

“It’s a great partnership we have with Liberty Cleaners,” said Carly Smith, assistant director of career education at Toppel, who serves as the coordinator of Sebastian’s Closet. “Students know they have nothing to worry about, except performing their best at interviews.”

Clothing from Sebastian’s Closet is rented for a seven-day period. All items are donated from the greater UM community, and suits are distributed on a first-come first-served basis. Once a reservation is approved through email, students pick up their suits at Toppel, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We are always accepting professional clothing donations,” said Smith. “The Closet is only as good as the people who make it happen. I’m proud to be a part of it.”


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Meditate Your Way to Success at the Herbert Wellness Center

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 6, 2016) – Time and again, meditation has proven to have remarkable results for many individuals. Improve your physical and emotional responses to stress while increasing your health and happiness at the Patti and Allan Herbert Wellness Center’s free meditation class, open to members and non-members on Monday, April 18.

Meditation is known to stimulate relaxation, which in turn might reduce blood pressure. Conditions caused or worsened by stress can also be alleviated through meditation, decreasing metabolism, lowering blood pressure, and improving the heart rate, breathing and brain waves.
Studies show that meditation may enhance the brain’s ability to process information. Not only can your memory expand, but your empathy and sense of self may improve as well. Meditation also assists in fostering compassion, happiness, and focus.
“No matter who you are, meditation can increase your attention span, improve the functionality of your brain and relieve stress, among many other physical and mental benefits,” said Ashley Falcon, assistant director of wellness at the Herbert Wellness Center. “Meditation can also help to build your leadership skills and boost your emotional intelligence.”
The meditation class, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7:40 p.m. in the Herbert Wellness Center. Comfortable clothing is recommended. This class is brought to you by the Department of Wellness and Recreation and Sri Chinmoy Centres International. For more information or to register for the class, call 305-284-5433 or email [email protected].

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Warhols, and Pollocks, and Moore…Oh My! All on View at the Lowe

Tobin reinstallCORAL GABLES, Fla.  (March 28, 2016) – The Lowe Art Museum is fully reinstalling its gallery of Modern and Contemporary works to accommodate a series of transformative loans from The Fairholme Unlimited Foundation, Inc. These include ten color screenprints from Andy Warhol’s Mao series (1972), Robert Mangold’s Attic Series XI (1991), Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure (1957), and six untitled screenprints from a portfolio by Jackson Pollock (1951/1964). These remarkable works by some of the 20th century’s most important artists will be installed alongside iconic art from the Lowe’s own permanent collection, which features pieces by Deborah Butterfield, Chryssa, Duane Hanson, Claes Oldenburg, Frank Stella, and Zao Wou-Ki. Rounding out the reinstallation will be works by Richard Pettibone, Joseph Kosuth, and Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, on loan from Fundación Jumex.

“These incredible works have injected new life into our Modern and Contemporary galleries,” Jill Deupi, Beaux Arts director and chief curator of the Lowe, said about the Fairholme loans. “They also allow us to tell a fuller story of the art and culture in 20th-century American and European art by contextualizing works from our own stellar holdings. In this, they further our mission of serving as an invaluable resource for education and enrichment through art and culture.”

Highlights from the Fairholme Unlimited Foundation will be on view at the Lowe  through the end of 2016.

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Roadmap to New Century Continues to Design Phase

UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 31, 2016)—After weeks of individual meetings, members of the working groups charged with laying the foundation for the “Roadmap to Our New Century” met to share preliminary recommendations for eight transformative initiatives with President Julio Frenk, senior leadership, and other key stakeholders. The initiatives, outlined by Frenk in his inaugural address, are based on his extensive listening exercise last fall and are designed to help distinguish the University as a hemispheric, excellent, relevant, and exemplary institution by its centennial in 2025.

Held on the Coral Gables campus, the March 18 retreat gave the working groups, known as Quads for their four members, the opportunity to discuss and receive feedback on their top ideas for implementing the initiatives, which cut across disciplines and schools to position UM for the next century. Presentations at the retreat indicated significant progress by the working groups.

“The retreat was a time to ask: ‘Are we headed in the right direction? Are the initiatives achievable, based on the preliminary proposals?’” said Khaleel Seecharan, assistant vice president for special projects, who is supporting the working groups with two team members in the Office of the President. “It was the first time all the groups shared their work and a great opportunity for them to get amazing feedback. It was really insightful.”

Also attending the daylong retreat were the University’s deans, vice presidents, vice provosts, Faculty Senate leaders, student leaders, and two-person teams that have been sharing their institutional and content expertise with the working groups. Participants spent the day in both small-group and large-group discussions, considering how the proposals connect to one another and existing campus initiatives, as well as initial ideas for implementation.

“It has been exciting to think about the ways that we can make it easier for people to work together across disciplines,” said Quad member Susan Morgan, a professor in the School of Communication. “It was interesting how many of the Quads came to a consensus about the kind of tools and structures were needed to accomplish their goals.”

The eight initiatives are focused on: 1) adding 100 endowed chairs over the next ten years; 2) enhancing multidisciplinary connections across schools and departments; 3) developing a hub for innovation and new ventures; 4) promoting collaboration and partnership with other universities and institutions; 5) examining the environment of inclusion on campus; 6) proposing programs and resources to minimize or eliminate financial obstacles to enrollment, learning, international study, research opportunities, and career networking and options for undergraduate and graduate students; 7) developing more opportunities for students to be involved in an active and participatory learning experience, and faculty to explore and test experimental teaching methods; and 8) enhancing excellence in the basic sciences, applied sciences, and engineering opportunities for multidisciplinary scientific research, teaching, and innovation to ensure the University’s capacity to address major challenges.

“It was a real honor to join the working group on building UM’s work in the hemisphere,” said Guillermo “Willy” Prado, dean of the Graduate School and another Quad member. “It has been an intensive and inspiring process. It is exciting to be involved in charting UM’s future and its very important role in the world.”

With input gleaned at the retreat, working group members are now moving from conceptualizing to designing the projects and activities. They are, Seecharan said, on target to finalize their proposals by the end of May, and publish them on June 1, when the University community will have the opportunity to review and provide feedback over several months.

“We wanted the Quads to have the freedom to ‘dream as big as they could’ so they’ve done the really hard work quietly,’’ Seecharan said. “But their recommendations will by no means be final. We know that many others at the University have big ideas and we will be listening to and incorporating many of them through the summer.”

Read more about the Roadmap and the initiatives and working groups, and share your ideas.





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