NMSU Fashion Club brings the National Retail Federation to campus for career opportunities and scholarships

Having been on campus for two years, the National Retail Federation has already made its impact on campus by providing students with life-changing opportunities to connect with the retail industry all year round. This membership is not just for those interested in fashion, but for anyone who is passionate about the retail and business industry.

What is the National Federation of Commerce?

The National Federation of Retail Trade (NRF) is one of the world’s largest retail trade associations working with retailers, industry partners, universities and the Federation of International Retail Association (FIRA). Having a membership with NRF provides students with scholarships, resources, networking, and learning opportunities with top industry recruiters like Target, Macy’s, Amazon, and Williams Sonoma, Inc.

Professor Dr. Kelley Coffeen, a professor of apparel, textiles, and fashion (CTFM), reached out to the NRF and the Department of Apparel, Textiles, and Fashion to bring the organization to campus.

NRF is a competitive organization where students can challenge other universities to be more active in the organization by participating in recruitment events and earning scholarships. “The benefits are that there are some competitive projects and programs, providing skills and opportunities to build your careers in the retail industry,” Coffeen said.

There are always events like recruiter chats where you can talk to industry leaders to better understand different career paths in retail and find out which careers would be right for you.

Attendees pose for a photo at a National Retail Federation convention. Photo from the NRF.com website.

How to join and its advantages

Thanks to the head of the CTFM department and the fashion club, the NRF membership has been paid for and all you need to do is sign up. “I knew our students needed to be connected to the industry all year, and the NRF has a student organization,” Coffeen said. “So, I reached out to them, our department, and the principal’s office to pay the initial membership fees, after which the fashion club stepped in and paid for it for the last couple of years.”

Coffeen recommends those interested in joining the NRF also join the on-campus Fashion Club to learn more about the NRF and help with fundraising to pay for membership. “We’d like students to join the fashion club and learn,” Coffeen said. “Any student with a passion for retail at NMSU is eligible for membership.”

Fashion Club president Alex Ruvalcaba says that in the fashion club she has been able to make connections with people she knows will be useful for networking in the future. Ruvalcaba says he has obtained similar connections through NRF. “With opportunities like recruiter chats and resume prep, I can make those connections and meet people who can help carve a path for me once I graduate,” Ruvalcaba said.

NRF can be a boon to many students who may be interested in or plan to work with the retail sector in the future. Ruvalcaba plans to become creative director of design for a luxury brand and while that means he won’t focus on the retail sector, he will still need to understand and work with people in the industry. “I’m not going to focus on the retail sector, but I’m hoping to learn more through NRF so I can have it in my back pocket for whenever I need it,” Ruvalcaba said.

National Retail Federation University Ambassador

If you are interested in interacting with students and are passionate about the retail sector, there is also the opportunity to be an NRF University Ambassador. The ambassador position is not only a resume builder but also offers great opportunities. “You may even have the option of going to New York City for a retail conference,” said Dr. Coffeen. The trip is paid for by the NRF, you just need to complete a few tasks on campus to qualify to go. The ambassador’s role is to guide students to go to certain NRF events that align with their interests.

To find more information about job fair events, recruitment chats or scholarships, you can visit the NRF website and also follow the NMSU fashion club’s Instagram @NMSUFASHION to stay updated on events and opportunities. “The fashion club is always promoting events and raising money to pay for them [NRF] membership so students can have access to these opportunities, joining the club will give you more access to the industry, and you can make connections with people on campus,” Ruvalcaba said.

The fashion club meets every Tuesday at 6:00pm at the Corbett Center.

The link to join NRF: https://nrffoundation.org/user/join

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