Several Jacksonville State University alumni and guests led the barefoot trail in one of the year’s most talked about movements: “One Day without Shoes”.
The event was held on April 15, 2015, on the Theron Montgomery Building (TMB) lawn, and occurred from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Several JSU faculty members, alongside students supporting their respective fraternity and sorority functions, were among the many to attend and support the cause.
The sixth-annual event, held with additional help from the Freshman Forum, reminded participants of the movement’s purpose; where attendees garnered insight of how shoeless children across the globe suffer day-in and day-out to get to and from destinations.
Lead event organizer and student life advisor Josh Robinson discussed further background of the movement, stating: “[it] is an initiative from the TOMS: One for One campaign, where for every TOMS shoe product you purchase, the product will be donated to a child in need. We raise awareness for people who aren’t as fortunate and who can’t afford shoes in different countries around the world.”
Advertisements, especially those released to digital outlets, helped stimulate awareness for the movement.
Among them included a YouTube video portraying a student’s blue-paint-coated foot walking about a blank white banner, which received praise from JSU faculty members. Though the visual garnered healthy reaction, fellow “One Day without Shoes” volunteer Chance Oliver revealed that some of the elements within the advert weren’t really significant.
“The blue paint was [a way] to create our banner. It was more for our cause of recognition than anything really,” stated Oliver, “The banner will be placed within the TMB lawn, so we encourage those who attend to take pictures to show that you support the cause.
Participants who were eager to snap photographs and selfies in front of the banner were encouraged to take part in the “barefoot walk”. The activity occurred at 2:45 p.m., in the wake of blistering, sunny weather, with every attendee walking barefoot around the hard, concrete of Trustee Circle.
As the walk around Trustee Circle began, volunteers held signs along the way that read: “It all starts with a single step,” in hopes to further emphasize the movement’s purpose and to further encourage bystanders to take part in the powerful barefoot parade. Volunteers additionally chanted cheers in a hopeful effort to accumulate attention.
During the walk, some participants complained of their feet growing sore and reportedly sustained formations of blisters caused by the scorching, rocky road utilized for travel.
The experience however gave attendees complete insight into what shoeless children in poverty-stricken regions must endure on a daily basis; horribly imagining that the brief fifteen-minute walk is not even close to the hourly routes children in third-world countries face every day of their lives.
Following the closing of the activity, members and guests of the event finally got a chance to gather in front of the banner and began to snap a handful of pictures in support of the movement.
In between photographs, fellow guests pondered if Jacksonville State University’s Cocky was going to attend. Despite the absence of the beloved mascot, the large number of participants helped make up for the MIA Cocky.
The presence of so many at the ‘One Day without Shoes’ event provided a strong voice for underprivileged ones across the globe who lack what most take for granted in first world countries.
Jefferson Varner IV
Seen in featured photo is Jefferson Varner IV and Chance Oliver, both participating in the event.
Credit to Chance Oliver for photo.