Hobart and William Smith students are taking part in “One Day Without Shoes” on April 6, going without their shoes to raise awareness about those in the world who do not have shoes – and no opportunity to acquire them.
An article in the Finger Lakes Times on Tuesday, April 5, featured the Colleges’ participation in this event, and plans to raise money to donate to Japan and collect shoes to send to Haiti.
“The idea is to walk the entire day barefoot to kind of get a better understanding of what it’s like for other people who do not have shoes,” the article quoted one of the organizers, Shanelle France ’11.
France added that she actually prefers going barefoot, which she did regularly while studying abroad in South Africa, where the local population does so to be ‘more connected to the earth.’
The full article, with details about the Colleges barefoot event and where and how donations are being accepted, follows.
Finger Lakes Times
Shoe-less projects raise awareness
Heather Swanson • April 5, 2011
Despite chances of inclement weather, there may be a number of people padding around without their shoes today and tomorrow.
Today is One Day Without Shoes, an annual event hosted by TOMS shoes to raise awareness of those who do not have shoes.
Keuka College students will be participating in the event today and Hobart and William Smith students will take part on Wednesday.
Keuka College’s newly formed TOMS Shoe Club is organizing the event, which also was held on campus last year, according to Doug Lippincott, executive director of communications. “More than 200 people took part on campus last year,” he said.
The positive response from students and community encouraged students to form the club and organize the event again this year.
The students plan to set up “rough terrain,” such as patches of stones, for people to walk barefoot over to simulate what it is like for people in Third World countries, Lippincott said. They also are considering painting their feet (much like face painting) to make them more visible, he said.
Community members are welcome to join the campus community and go barefoot for all or part of the day.
Shanelle France, a William Smith senior, organized the HWS event with sophomore Noah Lucas. Beyond just walking around barefoot, irrespective of weather conditions, the students plan to raise money to donate to Japan and collect shoes to donate to Haiti.
“The idea is to walk the entire day barefoot to kind of get a better understanding of what it’s like for other people who do not have shoes,” said France, who added she actually prefers going barefoot, which she did regularly while studying abroad in South Africa, where the local population does so to be “more connected to the earth.”
It is easy, she says, to take shoes for granted, but for those who are forced to go barefoot for lack of another option, it can be not only uncomfortable but also risky.
There are numerous health concerns involved, she says, including the possibilities of infection and injury.
“I think it’s just easy to get lost in our own privileges,” she said.
HWS students will begin their Wednesday barefoot in front of the Scandling Campus Center at 8:30 a.m. Participants will reconvene after a day without shoes to speak about their experiences from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Monetary donations are being accepted at the HWS College Store and collection boxes for shoes are set up around campus.