By Adrienne Stazzone
Over winter break, junior Emma Basilone bought herself a new pair of shoes. But instead of buyer’s remorse, what she got from her purchase was the inspiration to help needy children.
Style Your Sole, a movement by TOMS shoes, allows buyers to decorate and personalize their own footwear. For each blank pair of shoes that is purchased, the company donates another to underprivileged children in Africa and Argentina. After purchasing her shoes and learning about TOMS’ One for One pledge, Basilone knew that she had to spread the word to the Rider community.
“Everyone is looking to make an impact one way or another,” she said. “Bringing TOMS and their Style Your Sole event to Rider is my contribution.”
Since first getting involved, Basilone has been selected as a Campus Representative Intern for the company. A sister of Alpha Xi Delta, the biology major found a great deal of support in the Greek community.
“I reached out through my sorority and went to the National Panhellenic Council, which is in charge of all the sororities on campus,” Basilone said. “After explaining the event and how I wanted to run one for Rider, Greek Life agreed to fund $4,000.”
Added to a donation from the Council of Exceptional Children, the contribution allowed the original cost of shoes to be lowered from $50 to $10 per pair. The Rider Community Service fund also lent its encouragement, supplying $500 to cover the art supplies fee.
For Basilone, the enthusiasm she has received in response to this event has been incredibly exciting.
“About 156 pairs of TOMS have been ordered for the event,” she said. “That means Rider alone has put shoes on 156 children. Now that is something to be proud of.”
This year’s Style Your Sole was held last night in Daly’s Board Room. And while the opportunity to participate in Rider’s newest event has passed, students can still buy the shoes and have their purchases matched by TOMS. Using Rider’s campus code, campusride, reduces the cost by $5. As for what’s ahead, Basilone is confident that this year’s successful program has been just the first of many.
“I hope to have a TOMS Style Your Sole event be a staple in student activities every year,” she said. “Their One for One movement is revolutionary.”
In the meantime, Basilone and her team are redefining what it means to live life in someone else’s shoes.
For more information on the TOMS shoes movement or to order a pair of vegan canvas shoes, visit www.tomsshoes.com.