‘One Day Without Shoes’ raises awareness

The ground was cold on Tuesday.

Sophomore Christen Schwarz said that was her  first realization as she stepped outside barefoot to support “One Day Without Shoes.”

The event strives to raise awareness about people in other countries who don’t own a pair of shoes.

Tom’s Shoes, a footwear company that donates one pair of shoes to an impoverished person for every pair they sell, sponsors the annual event.

People can become susceptible to disease and infection if they walk barefoot, and schools can deny children entrance if they do not own shoes.

“It’s a good cause,” Schwarz, an international studies major, said. “It makes you appreciate what many children and people in Africa are going through.”

Freshman psychology major Alaina Rodriguez said she found out about the cause through other people and by owning a pair of Tom’s.

She said the event raises awareness because people walking barefoot around campus have to deal with questions and talk about the cause.

“It creates a scene, and people get out the word that way,” she said.

She said it also may inspire others to join in next year or research the issue on their own. This consciousness may also lead people to help in other ways.

“If more people know about it, then the problem is being worked at,” she said.

Kyle Faulkner, a sophomore communications studies and international studies major, said he was inspired to help with the event after learning more about the cause and going on a mission trip to Jamaica.

He said he was inspired to step out of his comfort zone and develop empathy for people who don’t have basic necessities, like shoes.

“I’ve never considered the position of not having shoes, until I found this cause,” he said. “It’s a good time to think about the things we take for granted in our everyday lives.”

He said that while preventing disease by providing people with shoes is important, making sure children can attend school is crucial.

“[Not having shoes] takes opportunities and experiences for growth away from them and harming them for their later years,” he said.

While Faulkner said he understands that some people went without shoes just because their friends did, he said they could still gain something from the experience and realize how fortunate they are.

“My hope is that Butler students are changed too, that we broaden our perspective and realize that some things we worry about are pretty petty,” he said.

He also said the focus of the event was the issue, and people should not get caught up in how long other people went without shoes or where they went without shoes.

“This is not a contest to see who can be the most dedicated to going barefoot all day,” he said. “It’s about drawing empathy and raising awareness for an issue that not many people think about.”

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