Tyson Studier, 16, left, and Cody Garrett, 18, browse the collared shirt rack at Albany Options School. Two Oregon State University fraternities donated the menswear.  (Mark Ylen/Democrat-Herald)

OSU sorority creates 'boutique' for Albany Options students

Students at Albany Options School are getting ready for graduation, summer jobs and a life outside high school.

On Wednesday, members of Oregon State University’s Sigma Delta Omega came to help them dress the part.

The sorority usually has a clothing exchange at the end of the year and often seeks an organization afterward to take anything that wasn’t claimed. This year, longtime friends Savannah Powell, the sorority’s incoming vice president, and Anna Sokolov, the business-to-school liaison for AOS, worked out a deal for the clothing to go to the alternative high school program.

OSU’s Sigma Kappa joined in the donating, as did fraternities Sigma Chi and Lambda Chi Alpha, Sokolov said. With help from Ross, which gave shopping bags; Old Navy, which contributed hangers; and St. Vincent de Paul, which loaned clothing racks, the high school students were able to browse an instant boutique of free skirts, shoes, slacks, casual wear and accessories.

“Look at this dress! Super fun,” crowed Kylee Landucci, pulling a halter-top sundress in a black-and-white animal print from her shopping bag.

Landucci, 18, particularly appreciates a bargain now that she lives on her own. “I like getting free stuff,” she said.

“I’m not really a shopping person, but I found these,” said Debra Leonor, 17, admiring a pair of sparkling red earrings.

Employees with FACT, the social services arm of Greater Albany Public Schools, contributed their time and brought boxloads of toothpaste, shaving cream, lotion and other toiletries donated by The Shift church.

Students came in groups to shop, with first picks going to the ones with the best attendance records. The idea was to reward that effort and give the teens, many of whom come from economically struggling families, a shot at items suitable for a job interview or a special occasion.

“Plus, everyone knows college girls dress better than anyone else,” Sokolov quipped.

The giveaway also helps the AOS group get a closer look at Greek life and think more about college, noted Allison Ryan, a junior at OSU and Sigma Delta Omega’s incoming alumna relations chair.

The sorority is based on academics and community service as much as it is forming friendships, she said. “We really want them to see we’re involved in the community.”

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