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Students go barefoot to put themselves in another’s shoes

Photo courtesy of Alexandra Constantinou

Many Americans own many pairs of shoes, but what if you had none?

A group of Ohio State students walked around campus barefoot Tuesday to try to make a difference for the millions of children around the world who are living without shoes.

TOMS Shoes is known for its One for One movement, which gives a pair of shoes to a child in need whenever a pair is purchased.

“We are bringing the TOMS movement into Ohio State,” said Allison Burr, a third-year in hospitality management and a campus leader of OSU TOMS. “We are bringing Buckeyes together for a good cause.”

One Day Without Shoes, hosted by OSU TOMS, is a campaign that calls for participants to take off their own shoes to spread awareness of the impact a pair of shoes can have on a child’s life.

“We, as a campus club, want to encourage other people to be involved to feel what it’s like not having shoes everyday and just what a blessing that we have shoes,” Burr said.

About 30 students who attended the campaign gathered together and watched a documentary film about One Day Without Shoes, produced by TOMS, to learn more about the TOMS movement, how it was started and why people have passion about it.

They walked one mile without shoes around the campus from Hitchcock Hallto Mirror Lake and through the Oval.

“There are a bunch of people so we can gain attention from them,” Burr said.

Jared Staley, a first-year in architecture, took off his shoes and said he participated in the barefoot experience to humble himself.

“There are lots of kids going without shoes and almost everyone in America is very privileged,” Staley said. “I just feel like this is the time to humble myself … I got a lot of crazy looks, actually … My feet are a little sore, but I actually enjoyed being barefoot rather than wearing shoes. I just wear shoes because it’s social norms.”

OSU TOMS started in 2009. There are about 15 members of the club on campus.

One of the members of OSU TOMS, Madelyn Gutkoski, a third-year in Spanish and anthropology, said One Day Without Shoes is raising awareness of the TOMS movement.

“We are spreading awareness of TOMS and what they are doing,” Gutkoski said. “We are showing people that it’s not just a style or a fashion, but it means a lot to people throughout the world.”

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