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September 21, 2023

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TOMS encourages students to ‘start something’

Students had the opportunity to share what inspires them while learning simple tips for how to put that inspiration into action.

“The most important step of all is the first step. Start something.”

This quote by Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS Shoes and chief shoe giver, was the theme of the evening at an event hosted by TOMS Campus Club on Thursday. The event, titled, “Start Something That Matters” after a book of the same name written by Mycoskie, was the first of its kind at the University and has been in the works since last November.

Sophomore Rodrigo Patterson started TOMS Campus Club a few months prior, after meeting with corporate members of TOMS Shoes last April. The group, which began with only seven other students, now has 35 participating members.

Thursday’s event included the viewing of a short film that featured young entrepreneurs each telling the story of how they overcame their inhibitions and doubt to go on to start successful businesses.

Later in the evening, all of the attendees split into smaller groups to work on individual “vision boards.” Essentially collages of pictures cut out of various magazines, these boards were representations of each person’s inspiration or something they feel passionate about.

Leslie Potts, student member of TOMS Campus Club, while introducing the activity, prompted the audience to “explore what wakes you up in the morning.”

The vision board representations varied from a passion for art to a passion for cultural diversity and exploration.

The event brought together a diverse group of people, all united by their curiosity of finding the drive inside themselves to start projects, whether big or small, that mean something to them.

Bryce Dotson, freshman, said he heard about the “Start Something That Matters” event while previously attending a Falling Whistles event at the University.

He said he liked the idea as a whole and that as part of the youth of America, “there’s so much we can do to change the world.”

Sophomore Rachael Messner, who is part of the campus group, says that she was drawn to the group for the opportunity to take the “values from the shoes” and pass them on through community service and outreach.

TOMS Campus Club does just that. The group’s past service has included a TOM’s Shoe sale at which 70 pairs of shoes were sold. Shoes were sold for half off if customers donated clothes or canned goods. Project Homeless Connect and a local food pantry both benefitted from the sale.

One of the future projects is scheduled for April 22, called “One Day Without Shoes,” in which the club will bring awareness to TOMS Shoes’ mission statement by going shoe-less and encouraging others to do the same.

TOMS Campus Club’s first meeting of the semester is Feb. 4, after which the group will meet bi-weekly.

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