Apr 152008
Authors: Shayna Grajo

Emily Grisley will be kicking off her heels in her attempt to lead students in a footloose advocacy program to promote awareness for poor families in third-world countries who can’t afford shoes, starting noon today at the Morgan Library.

The junior liberal arts major will walk barefoot on campus all day to support the “National Day Without Shoes” campaign sponsored by TOMS Shoes, a celebrity-endorsed retailer based in Santa Monica, CA.

“People in every state are going to be doing this to raise awareness,” said Grisley, an intern for the effort. “There’s tons of people in this world who don’t have shoes, and they have to go about their lives.”

TOMS Shoes, created in 2006 by former “The Amazing Race” contestant Blake Mycoskie, was founded on the premise that for every pair of shoes sold, the company would match a sale by donating a pair to a child in a third world country.

“TOMS’ goal is to make life better for the people who don’t have the luxury of shoes and to assist others in their everyday lives,” Grisley said. “If this world only had 100 people in it, 40 would not have shoes.”

In its first year, the company donated 10,000 pairs of shoes to a site in Argentina, and last year, 50,000 pairs were sent to South Africa.

The company has scheduled a stop in Ethiopia set for summer.

Grisley and a team of three other CSU-based TOMS interns have worked since the beginning of the semester to plan promotional events like the barefoot march. The barefoot march begins at noon outside the Morgan Library. The march will last approximately 20 minutes, encompassing a loop around the Clark Building and a path through the Lory Student Center.

The event is open to the community, Grisley said, and is scheduled to occur regardless of inclement weather possibilities.

“We’re going rain or shine,” she said. “The people in other countries that are doing it have no choice.”

To publicize the Day Without Shoes, the interns created the group “CSU TOMS” on Facebook, a student networking Web site. According to the site, 250 Facebook users have been confirmed to “go without shoes all day.”

Grisley said she has no clue as to the possible barefoot turnout on campus Wednesday. This will be the first year the TOMS campaign has come to CSU.

Staff writer Shayna Grajo can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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