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Barefoot campus walk aims to raise awareness

March 30, 2012

On Thursday, April 5, UW-River Falls Falcon Programs will be putting on the event TOMS One Day Without Shoes walk to raise awareness.

This event is an international event which usually takes place on April 10. UWRF is participating earlier for convenience reasons, said Courtney Haas, who is the Falcon Programs community service programmer.

TOMS Shoes is a one-for-one shoe company that donates a pair of shoes to a child in need over seas whenever a pair of shoes is purchased through them. The event is to bring awareness to what kids overseas are going through when they don’t have shoes.

“The day we spread awareness of the impact a pair of shoes can have on a child’s life by taking off our own. Why? Millions of children live without proper footwear, exposing them to injury and disease every day,” stated the TOMS Shoes website.

At 6 p.m. on April 5, those participating in the event will have a 1-mile barefoot walk around campus followed with a concert from Dave Herdan and the Bad Habits Brass, according to Haas.

“What we will be doing is a 1-mile walk around campus barefoot to raise awareness about what these kids overseas are going through when they don’t have shoes and what types of illnesses they get because of it and after the walk we’ll be coming back to the University Center for a concert and there will be free food and a lot of different things going on,” Haas said.

Haas said that UWRF participated last year through the Actionist Network, where leader Cammy Nelson asked Falcon Programs to help. Falcon Programs took on the event this year so they were able to use some of their budget to help put on a larger event, Haas said.

Senior Cassie Kienbaum talked about the event and the unique way of raising awareness on the UWRF campus.

“Yes I’ve known about the event for a couple years, if I’m free that day I will be participating, I think it’s a good way to spread awareness, it’s a good discussion starter, like, why aren’t you wearing shoes? People will notice it,” Kienbaum said.

Herdan said he hopes the concert brings in more people for the event.

“The Bad Habits Brass was asked to play for the event because of our recent success in the River Falls community. We are a fun band that pairs really well with the One Day Without Shoes event. We’re hoping we can bring in a few people for the concert,” Herdan said.

The event is free for the campus and public and no sign up is necessary, Haas said. Falcon Programs has been working with TOMS Shoes and will be doing a two day shoe drop in Haiti this summer as well.