TOMS club to go shoeless for one week to raise awareness for organization’s cause

Kristen Tomins and Kristen Tomins

TOMS Campus Club will not only participate in the TOMS One Day Without Shoes tradition, but will be taking it a step further by dedicating an entire week to the cause.

April 20 will kick off the spirit week dedicated to One Day Without Shoes, with April 22 being the University club’s formal day without shoes movement. Events will be hosted April 20-25.

TOMS is a for-profit organization that sells shoes and eyewear, and follows a one-for-one formula by donating a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of shoes they sell. For every pair of eyewear the organization sells, TOMS donates part of the profit to restore eyesight for individuals in developing countries.

TOMS Campus Club President Rodrigo Patterson said this is the biggest event the club has planned since TOMS Campus Club was officially recognized in fall of 2013.

“We want to get BGSU out there and get our club recognized,” said Patterson. “We’re compatible with other big schools like Ohio State who have their own campus chapter, too. This is one of our big steps to really prove it.”

Patterson encourages students to register to become a trailblazer for the Barefoot Challenge on April 22. Students can create a group of 10 or more people, including companies, non-profit organizations, universities and campus clubs. The team with the most barefoot pledges can win a variety of prizes from TOMS, including TOMS eyewear, food and beverages, TOMS styling supplies and a two spots on a TOMS giving trip.

Students can also get involved in the TOMS campus club by joining one of their four committees: advertising, outreach, event planning and fundraising. Each committee is responsible for different tasks ranging from designing posters, to collaborating with other campus organizations to spread the message that TOMS is sending.

Each day has certain activities assigned to it, according to Event Planner Cieara Little.

“Instead of One Day Without Shoes, we’re turning it into one week without shoes,” said Little.

April 20 will be a kick-off event in the Skybank Room in the Union at 7 p.m. where students can celebrate and learn more about what’s to come during the week, followed by a walk to Kreischer Quadrangle residence halls to paint the rock on Monday night.

April 22 is the club’s designated One Day Without Shoes challenge. This is the day where students who signed up to be a trailblazer can participate in the challenge with their groups. Patterson said he plans to have a variety of surfaces available outside for students to walk on barefoot to truly understand the meaning of walking without shoes.

April 23 is a day for conversation, according to Patterson. He said the day is meant for students to talk with peers in the University about their values and spread the message of One Day Without Shoes.

On April 24 the organization plans to collaborate with the Center for Leadership to talk with students on how they can take a stand for those in need of shoes and other materials that others may take for granted.

Finally, on April 25 TOMS Campus Club will be hosting the Barefoot Olympics where students can participate in soccer, sand volleyball, water balloon toss and more, all while being barefoot and supporting TOMS’ cause.

“It will be a good way for students to relax and have fun before finals week,” Patterson said.

Some students are already making plans to participate in the Barefoot Challenge, including sophomore Alex Herrera.

“[Patterson’s] motivation and passion about the organization makes me want to become more engaged,” Herrera said. “I really like what they’re doing; everyone’s enthusiastic about the cause so it makes me want to get involved.”

In addition to the club’s spirit week and challenge, TOMS Campus Club will also be selling t-shirts for $10 and will be donating part of the profit to local organizations to follow the TOMS one-for-one formula.

Students can begin registering to become a trailblazer on the club’s new website, Odwsbgsu.weebly.com.