The Buzz with Stephany Greene
Stephany Greene is the Founder of the Fashion Merchandising Program at the University of the District of Columbia. The fashion program will launch after official university approval is granted. It is currently going through the final approval stages, and is expected to commence in the fall of 2009.
Andi Joseph: Tell us about the Fashion Merchandising Program at UDC
Stephany Greene: Washington DC is experiencing a wonderful renaissance. Our fashion retail industry is absolutely exploding with gorgeous couture stores and talented local designers. The University of the District of Columbia is also experiencing an exciting renaissance, and it’s determined to change with the times by modernizing its course offerings to support talented Washingtonians by giving them an opportunity to enter our burgeoning fashion retail market by earning a degree in Fashion Merchandising in the new Community College. By majoring in Fashion Merchandising at UDC, students can get a degree in fashion, become gainfully employed in their hometown’s fashion industry and get one of the most affordable fashion degrees in the country without having to leave their hometown. The opportunity for students to enroll is expected by the fall of 2009 (after official university approval is granted).
AJ: What is the history of the Fashion Program and how it came to be?
SG: About two and a half years ago, I contacted the president of UDC to inquire about whether the University could allow me to develop a fashion program for UDC. With the president’s support, I started developing the program by collaborating with Dr. Les Vermillion, Dr. Sandra Yates and Dean Charlie E. Mahone, Jr. in the School of Business and Public Administration. Since then The Tommy Hilfiger foundation and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development have awarded generous grants, which have enabled the program to get to this point. To support UDC President Allen Sessoms’ vision to open UDC’s new Community College by the fall of 2009, the CEO, Dr. Hervey, decided that launching an Associates Degree in Fashion Merchandising at the same time would be a perfect fit. Once the program passes UDC’s final approval stages, students will be able to enroll, hopefully as soon as this fall.
AJ: What is the future you predict for it?
SG: The Fashion Merchandising Program at UDC is expected to launch in the new Community College as a two-year Associate Degree in the fall of 2009. UDC is also expected to offer a four-year Bachelor Degree in Fashion Merchandising within the next year or two. Eventually, there should be plans to start a Fashion Design degree as well. Without a marketing or media campaign, over 300 students signed a petition for support that demonstrates the high demand for this degree. Once the word gets out that you can get an affordable degree in fashion at UDC, student demand is expected to be overwhelming.
AJ: What are the major opportunities/challenges faced?
SG: Opportunities are unlimited for this venture. UDC’s Fashion Merchandising students will have the chance to practice their profession by interning at small boutiques and major department stores. Their education will train them to give back to the District’s economy while entering the job market to launch lucrative careers that will ultimately steer our fashion retail economy toward a tremendously prosperous future. Current challenges are the fact that funding is still needed for the program to survive. If it is not properly funded, it simply cannot succeed, let alone open by this fall. Future challenges are rather limited, because the program’s future is so incredibly promising for Washingtonians, UDC and Washington DC’s economy.
AJ: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
SG: The Fashion Merchandising program has produced a new television show called Fashionably DC, which is expected to air on UDC TV 98 within the next month or so. For an example of how UDC is moving forward with a vibrant new image, watch Fashionably DC to learn about the politics of fashion, capitol style and the business of fashion in the nation’s capitol.
To find out more about the University of the District of Columbia’s Fashion Merchandising Program please contact: Stephany Greene at email@example.com or 202-274-5000.
Andi Joseph is manager of research and communications at WDCEP.