A pack of barefoot people walked through campus Wednesday afternoon to meet the brotherly trio Hanson at Barnes and Nobles in the South Campus Gateway.
Hanson, along with Ohio State students, banded together to raise awareness for those in need of shoes Wednesday. Their “Take the Walk” campaign is a collaboration with TOM’s Shoes, a charitable shoe-manufacturing group that donates a pair of shoes for every pair they sell.
Hanson “took a couple of trips to Africa, they were really shocked by how little they have compared to what we have,” said Bethany Stevens, a 25-year-old Columbus resident and Hanson fan.
This is Hanson’s 118th walk, which they hold before their concerts.
“This is our third walk,” Stevens said. “We walk a mile barefoot to understand a portion of what [the poor] go through.”
The walk was organized by the new student group TOM’s Ohio State.
“We got [the event] together in three days,” said Andrew Macmillan, a fourth-year in psychology. “We got our route last week.” The group initially had trouble getting the walk approved by OSU because of the liability of barefoot walkers. They resolved the conflict by making the event footwear-optional, he said.
“This is our first major event, and I think we proved ourselves,” said Nicole Lee, a fourth-year in special education. The walk drew 150 people, some of whom follow Hanson on their tours and on their walks.
Shannon O’Malley is a 24-year-old Ohio University graduate on her fourth walk. She and her friends have been fans of Hanson since their rise to stardom in 1997.
“I think it’s really a great cause. It means so much more than just going to concerts,” she said. “They’re always doing things to attract more fans and keep their fans from 1997 interested.”
O’Malley is confident that the cause remains pure, despite the draw of a commercially successful, popular band.
“I think that people really care here to do the right thing,” she said. “If Hanson didn’t go, I think people would still do it.”