Virginia Tech teams up with TOMS for awareness
BLACKSBURG – Thousands of participants on university campuses across the United States spent Tuesday shoeless as part of TOMS Shoes’ “A Day Without Shoes” campaign.
At Virginia Tech, students were invited to purchase a $30 pair of white TOMS Shoes and decorate them on the Drillfield alongside other students participating in the event. Some students painted their bare feet to show support for the cause.
TOMS Shoes began in 2006 when founder Blake Mycoskie was on a trip in Argentina. Mycoskie witnessed poor living conditions and children walking around without shoes.
Mycoskie founded TOMS Shoes with the intent of donating one pair of shoes for each pair purchased. His business model, and the key phrase during the campaign, is one-for-one.
The shoes are given to more than 20 countries worldwide. TOMS Shoes’ “high volume” countries include Peru, Guatemala, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Nicaragua and Argentina. TOMS even donates shoes in the United States.
According to their website, TOMS Shoes has given more than one million pairs of shoes.
Tech’s Tuesday event was sponsored and organized by the Virginia Tech Union.
Director of Special Events for VTU, Eroica Williams, hopes the event helped bring awareness to TOMS Shoes’ mission and their campaign.
“TOMS are everywhere on college campuses mostly because of the mission connected with it,” Williams said. “The mission, along with the perk of making them your own, should encourage students to participate in raising awareness for TOMS.”
Junior Kelley McKew decorated a pair of TOMS Shoes to support the overall mission.
“I think they’re doing a good thing,” McKew said. “It’s smart to bring it to campus and sell shoes affordably to get the message out.”
A decorated pair of TOMS Shoes will also lead to conversations with people curious about the shoe itself, McKew added.
TOMS Shoes hopes that’s the case.
Virginia Tech Union President Elizabeth Engel also participated in “A Day Without Shoes” by decorating her own pair of TOMS.
Engel said she owns a few pairs of TOMS Shoes and was looking forward to decorating a new pair.
According to Engel, the TOMS Shoes sold on Tuesday were cheaper than purchasing them online.
Purchasing and decorating a pair of TOMS is not only a great way to get something unique, but a way to help someone else at the same time, Engel added.
“It’s always nice to give back when you buy something.”
For more information about TOMS Shoes and its mission, visit www.toms.com.
By Mike Shaw
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