TOMS Shoes gets approval as new club

At the 2009 Style Your Sole event, students bought shoes and decorated them.

By Katherine Johnson

A new opportunity to help others who are less privileged is now available to students right on campus.

The TOMS Shoes Club is a new organization founded by senior Emma Basilone, a sister of Alpha Xi Delta, who hopes students can find a way to get involved.

“It’s a different kind of community service,” Basilone, a biology major, said. “You can pretty much do whatever you want with it. It’s very creative.”

TOMS Shoes is an organization founded by Blake Mycoskie, who went on a trip to Argentina and realized that many of the people there were walking around without shoes. He decided to make a difference in their lives.

Mycoskie saw that since walking was their main source of transportation, people living in Argentina and similar areas were more likely to get cuts on their feet, which could become infected or create an entrance for parasites into the body.
He then created the campaign One for One, which donates a pair of shoes to someone in need for each pair bought. The shoes can be purchased either online or at select stores.

Basilone discovered the TOMS Shoes organization after seeing a pair of the shoes in a local surf shop and purchasing them. She then went on its Web site and became attracted to its mission.Basilone then signed up to be the campus representative for TOMS Shoes.

As such, Basilone hosted a TOMS Shoes event last year to raise awareness of the cause and get people involved around campus. She was impressed with the outcome.

“It was amazing,” she said. “We sold over 150 pairs of shoes.”

Basilone wanted to see if she could bring the organization to campus on a more regular basis. After talking to some friends, she petitioned to the Greek Council, which responded favorably to the request by donating $3,000 to cut the cost of shoes to $15 a pair.

The TOMS Shoes club was a vision for Basilone, who hopes that it will continue to grow and inspire others.

“I hope that it outlasts me graduating because I put a lot of work into it,” she said. “I think that it’s pretty stable and someone will be able to take it and run with it. There are so many things to do with it, and I think we just scratched the surface.”

As members of the club, students can go to meetings where they can help plan events around campus, work on budgeting and get their voices heard about what they want to do for the year.

Students can participate in several events arranged for the semester. The first is One Day Without Shoes, in which the TOMS Shoes documentary will be screened, and a One for One event will take place for students to see how the company was started. The Style Your Sole event will be back on April 21, and students can sign up to buy a pair of shoes and decorate them to suit their styles.

For more information on TOMS Shoes, visit www.tomsshoes.com or e-mail Emma Basilone at basilone@rider.edu.

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