Thursday, April 12, 2012

Barefoot for a day

Students leave shoes behind for a day as part of shoe company’s annual awareness campaign.

By Alison Haywood, Copy Editor

“My arches hurt. Like, my feet hurt.”

“Walking around on asphalt is no fun.”

Such were the reactions of first-years Amy VanCleave and Aiko Nakagawa after walking barefoot around campus all day Tuesday to participate in One Day Without Shoes.

One Day Without Shoes is an event put on by TOMS shoes every April to raise awareness about people around the world who don’t have the opportunity to wear shoes, especially children.

The TOMS company has a one-for-one model in which, for every pair of shoes purchased, TOMS donates one pair.

VanCleave said TOMS mostly drops the shoes in South America, but also sends them to Africa and even the U.S.

“I didn’t even know that they gave TOMS to people in America, and I can’t imagine walking around the streets of anywhere in America without shoes on,” said Nakagawa.

VanCleave is a campus representative for the TOMS company.

She said there cannot be an official PLU club since TOMS is for-profit, but there is a group of students who meet on occasion, like TOMS shoes and support the cause.

TOMS has been putting on One Day Without Shoes since 2006 and hit its one millionth pair of shoes sold in 2010, VanCleave said.

“Now it’s starting to make a bigger difference because it’s catching on. It’s like, hip right now,” VanCleave said.

VanCleave said the group received 68 pledges in writing and 58 pledges on Facebook, although she estimates 20-30 students actually participated.

“Even though not as many people participated, there are people that were wearing shoes that were familiar with the cause and that knew about it, so it was getting the word out,” VanCleave said.

VanCleave said she hopes to make the campaign bigger at PLU in the future.

Nakagawa said she got a lot of strange looks for walking around without shoes.

“It’s just been an interesting experience,” she said.