Shoeless day start for creative philanthrophy

Kernel Editorial Board

Most of the time, making a visible impact for a cause on campus means hanging up flyers or standing in the Free Speech Area and making full use of a megaphone. But demonstrations like those have gotten to be so common students hardly notice them.

TOMS shoes broke the mold last week when students were encouraged to go without wearing shoes for a day to raise awareness for those less fortunate around the world. After all, how could you not notice if your classmate showed up for your 11 a.m. with nothing but dirt on his feet?

The students who took part in this made a clear statement about what they were doing and did it without disrupting classes or offending anyone.

For something to be so powerful without raising any controversy is rare and the group should be applauded for its effort. The demonstration had an obvious effect not just on anyone who saw it, but even on those who were already aware of the plight of those without shoes who decided to join in.

“I guess I never really thought too much about what it would feel like,” UK senior Danielle Crawford said in an April 8 Kernel article. “It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. The gravel sidewalk was the worst for everyone.”

Going a day without shoes probably seemed like a small sacrifice at first — and it may have looked the same way to anyone who saw the march through campus — but nothing can replace actually experiencing it and that’s what made this such a great demonstration.

And of course, while it’s one thing to think about those who are less fortunate, it’s another thing completely to walk a mile out of your shoes for them.

About 100 students made it out for the march. That’s impressive for the first year an event has been held on campus, and it’s bound to grow as more people learn about it.

“There were definitely some confused faces when people saw us walking barefoot at first,” Dover said.  “But once we educated them on why we’re going barefoot, you could tell they were more than interested.”

Hopefully more students will consider a day without shoes so someone else doesn’t have to live it.