Creating a Crimson Closet

CCN student’s idea to aid others under financial stress

While earning a college degree is certainly a strong investment, the expenses associated with pursuing higher education weigh heavily on many. After paying tuition, buying books and covering various additional fees, many students feel a financial strain. And for our nursing students, that strain might be felt long before the bill for their new crimson scrubs comes in.

Thus, the idea for a CCN Crimson Closet was born. Michealyn D. Crauswell, a student entering her upper division nursing courses, approached Dean Suzanne Prevost with an idea that would ease a bit of the burden for students under financial stress.

Michealyn D. Crauswell in crimson scrubs
Michealyn D. Crauswell

“We have several group chats for our nursing classes where we communicate study tips, answer questions about CCN, and just help each other out. As we were ordering scrubs, I noticed many students were worried about the cost because they’re not cheap– my set was $220,” said Crauswell. “As someone who grew up in a single-parent household, I know how tight money can get.. There have been many times I’ve had to choose between things, or go without because we just couldn’t swing it. My mom is pretty great, and always made something happen though.

Since it was such a large number of students and not just a couple, I took a few days to decide what to do and I came up with the Crimson Closet. I suggested that past CCN students could donate used scrubs, shoes, and coats so that current students could use them for little to no cost.”

As it would turn out, CCN already had an initiative like this in the works. In the past, 5th semester students were asked to consider donating their gently used scrubs back to the school. Those scrubs were then offered to students who needed assistance when entering upper division courses.

“We have been doing this on a smaller scale for a number of years, and are thrilled with the creation of CCN’s Crimson Closet which will now become a significant resource for our students,” said Rebekah Welch, Director of the Office of Nursing Student Services.

Knowing that UA’s Career Center has had such success with their Crimson Career Closet, Dean Prevost and ONSS felt confident this could work at CCN, and immediately identified a physical space for the closet as well as ways to fill it with uniform items. The CCN Board of Visitors has committed funds to ensure the closet is initially stocked, and ONSS will continue to accept donations of gently used scrubs and other uniform items.

Crauswell hopes that the creation of this resource will let students know they are not alone.

“I want our current students to know that past students, as well as their instructors, care enough about them to make sure that they succeed, even if that means helping with the cost of things. It’s okay to not be able to afford things sometimes and that shouldn’t be an embarrassment when resources are readily available. I grew up without a lot of things; we really struggled. Seeing my fellow classmates scared at the thought of going without really upset me. I would help everybody if I could,” said Crauswell.

“I want our current students to know that even though most may not know me, I love and care about them and their well-being. Most of the instructors know we are a tight-knit group, and I hope the Crimson Closet shows them just how much we truly love and are there for one another. I hope eventually that the Crimson Closet has a big enough community impact that purchasing scrubs is optional because they’ve been donated and can just be borrowed. As for the future, I hope our current CCN students remember the good deeds done for them and give back to those in need.”

If you are a CCN alum with crimson scrubs you’d like to donate, please reach out to the Office of Nursing Student Services at (205) 348-6639.